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BD Reports Q1 Sales Drop of 1 Percent; Acquires Accuri Cytometers

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Becton Dickinson reported after the close of the market Monday that its first-quarter revenues declined around 1 percent overall, though the firm's BD Biosciences segment was up 4 percent year over year.

The Franklin Lakes, NJ-based manufacturer of medical supplies, diagnostics, and life science research tools also said that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Accuri Cytometers, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based company that develops and manufactures personal flow cytometers for researchers, for an undisclosed amount.

BD had total revenues of $1.84 billion for the three-month period ended Dec. 31, compared to $1.87 billion for the first quarter of 2010. Analysts had expected the firm to report revenues of $1.89 billion.

BD said that the decline was primarily due to an unfavorable comparison to last year's sales of products related to the pandemic flu outbreak, which shaved off about 4 percentage points from this year's Q1 growth, as well as US stimulus-related revenue.

Sales for the BD Medical segment were down nearly 5 percent at $926.5 million from $970.7 million year over year; sales for the BD Diagnostics segment were up 1 percent at $601.7 million from $595.5 million; and sales for the BD Biosciences business climbed 4 percent to $313.7 million from $302.7 million.

The firm's net income for the quarter was $315.9 million, or $1.36 per share, compared to net income of $316.4 million, or $1.30 per share, for the first quarter of 2010. It beat analysts' consensus estimate of $1.29 per share.

BD's R&D spending increased around 17 percent to $115.5 million from $99.2 million, and its SG&A expenses were up less than a percent at $448 million versus $445.7 million.

"While revenue came in slightly below our expectations, our discipline around operational excellence enabled us to deliver earnings per share in line with our previous guidance," BD Chairman and CEO Edward Ludwig said in a statement.

BD did not provide its cash balance as of the end of the quarter.

It noted that it repurchased $837 million of its common stock during Q1, and it continues to plan aggregate share repurchases of $1.5 billion in fiscal 2011 and an additional $600 million in 2012.

BD reaffirmed its previous guidance for fiscal 2011 revenue growth of around 4 percent and EPS of between $5.45 and $5.55.

In a separate announcement, BD said that the acquisition of Accuri, which it expects to close during the third quarter of this year, would expand its presence "into the emerging affordable personal flow cytometer space." It also is expected to help expand the use of flow technology by researchers in developing regions where ease of use is critical and among researchers in scientific disciplines that have not traditionally used flow cytometry, such as environmental studies.

"Making flow cytometry more accessible to a wider audience of scientists and clinicians is one aspect of our Cell Analysis growth strategy," William Rhodes, president of BD Biosciences, said in a statement. "With its small footprint, ease of use and affordable price, the Accuri flow cytometer enables the adoption of flow cytometry by a broad range of researchers whom BD does not currently serve."

Accuri has developed the C6 Flow Cytometer, which it plans to eventually file with the US Food and Drug Administration for clinical diagnostics use. Last year, the firm inked a deal with IncellDx to combine the C6 Flow Cytometer with IncellDx's HPV OncoTect E6, E7 mRNA test.

In early Tuesday trade on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of BD were down 4 percent at $81.89.

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