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Agilent's Q1 Revenues Rise but Profits Drop 20 Percent

This article has been updated to include comments from a conference call.
NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Agilent Technologies reported after the close of the market on Wednesday that its first-quarter revenues rose 9 percent, with strong growth coming from its Bio-Analytical Measurement segment. But its profits dropped 20 percent due to share-based compensation expense.
Agilent brought in revenues of $1.39 billion in the quarter ended Jan. 31, up from revenues of $1.28 billion in the comparable quarter a year ago. Revenues for the firm’s Bio-Analytical Measurement segment rose 15 percent to $557 million from $484 million year over year. Excluding the results of Stratagene, which Agilent acquired in June for approximately $250 million, the segment had revenue growth of 10 percent.
Life sciences sales were up 24 percent in the quarter to $241 million, or 11 percent excluding Stratagene’s contribution. The firm said that pharma and biotech markets were mixed, “with relative weakness in the US and sustained strength in Asia.”
“Growth was robust across both life sciences and chemical analysis and in all geographies, with the Americas up 14 percent, and both Europe and Asia up 16 percent from one year ago,” Agilent CFO Adrian Dillon said during a conference call yesterday. “China and India were particularly high, up 41 percent and 51 percent, respectively.”

Dillon said that although spending by US pharma customers was “relatively soft,” CROs in Asia “continued to spend aggressively.” He said the firm’s sales to academic and government customers grew 14 percent organically and nearly doubled including Stratagene’s contribution. 

Chemical analysis revenues rose 9 percent year over year to $316 million. Sales for food safety applications were particularly strong for the quarter, up 22 percent, said Agilent.
However, sales for forensics applications were up only about 1 percent year over year, impacted by a reduction in US funding at the federal, state, and local levels, said Dillon.
Revenues for the firm’s Electronic Measurement segment increased 5 percent to $836 million from $796 million.
Agilent posted a first-quarter profit of $120 million, or $.31 per share, down from a profit of $150 million, or $.36 per share, in the first quarter of 2007. The firm said it recognized $30 million in share-based compensation expense during the first quarter of 2008.
Agilent’s R&D spending increased 8 percent to $181 million from $168 million, while its SG&A expenses were 3 percent higher at $441 million versus $428 million.
The firm finished the quarter with $1.4 billion in cash and cash equivalents.
In early Thursday trade on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Agilent were down 3 percent at $31.70.

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