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Agilent's Q3 Bio-analytical Revenues Fall 8 Percent amid 27 Percent Total Revenue Decline

This article has been updated from a previous version to include information on the company's stock price.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - Agilent Technologies yesterday reported that revenues for its Bio-analytical segment declined 8 percent in its third fiscal quarter as total revenues fell 27 percent.

For the three months ended July 31, Agilent posted total revenues of $1.06 billion, a 27 percent falloff from $1.4 billion in the year-ago period but an improvement over analyst estimates of $1.02 billion.

Bio-analytical segment revenues dipped 8 percent to $496 million, with life sciences down 5 percent to $234 million. Chemical analysis revenues of $262 million were down 11 percent from last year.

Revenues for the company's Electronic Measurement segment, meantime, fell 36 percent to $542 million while Semiconductor and Board Test segment revenues fell 56 percent to $36 million from $81 million in the year-ago period.

Agilent said that spending by pharma and biotech customers decreased 6 percent, and sales to the academic and government markets were down 2 percent from one year ago.

Within the Bio-analytical group, Agilent said that sales of its gas and liquid chromatography products "remained weak," though it saw "particularly strong" interest in the 1290 Infinity LC that it introduced in July. Microarray sales, meantime, increased by nearly 20 percent, with particularly strong adoption of the company's SurePrint CGH arrays.

Agilent's total spending on R&D declined 10 percent to $153 million from $170 million in the comparable period of 2008. Selling, general, and administrative spending dipped 7 percent to $387 million from $415 million in the year-ago period.

The company reported a net loss of $19 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, compared to net income of $169 million, or $0.45 per share, in the prior-year period. Analysts had estimated earnings per share of $0.11.

The third-quarter net loss includes restructuring and asset impairment charges of $81 million and $11 million of non-cash amortization, as well as a tax benefit of $36 million and $16 million in other charges. Excluding these items, Agilent said that its adjusted net income would be $53 million, or $0.15 per share, compared to $198 million, or $0.53 per share, in adjusted net income for the year-ago period.

"Given the extraordinarily difficult economic conditions around the world, Agilent performed well in our third quarter," Bill Sullivan, Agilent's president and chief executive, said in a statement, adding that while third-quarter revenues were down by 27 percent, they were "close to our expectations."

Sullivan said that the company is optimistic that the quarter ended July 31 "will represent the cyclical low point for Agilent."

The firm said it believes that market conditions will "remain difficult" through the end of its fiscal year, but noted that "recent increases in quotation activity and order funnels suggest that a modest recovery could begin early in fiscal 2010."

"We expect our fourth-quarter revenues to improve seasonally, and that the benefits of our restructuring program will become increasingly evident in our operating results," Sullivan said.

As of July 31, Agilent held $1.48 billion in cash and cash equivalents.

In mid-morning trade on Wednesday, Agilent's shares were up nearly 8 percent to $25.44.

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