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Beckman Coulter's Q4 Revenues Increase 3 Percent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Beckman Coulter reported after the close of the market on Monday that its fourth-quarter revenues increased around 3 percent, as gains in its clinical diagnostics segment were offset by a decline in life sciences products sales.

The Orange County, Calif.-based firm reported revenues of $811.3 million for the three-month period ended Dec. 31, compared to $789 million for the fourth quarter of 2007. Sales for its clinical diagnostics products rose around 5 percent, while sales for its life sciences products declined roughly 8 percent year over year.

Within its clinical diagnostics segment, the firm's chemistry and clinical automation sales were flat, while cellular analysis revenues were up 4 percent, and immunoassay and molecular diagnostics sales increased 15 percent.

The firm also noted that recurring revenues, which includes supplies, test kits, services, and operating-type lease payments were $610 million, or roughly 75 percent of its total revenues for the quarter.

Beckman Coulter's profit for the quarter was $77.2 million, or $1.21 per share, compared to $44.8 million, or $.69 per share.

The company's R&D costs dropped 33 percent to $64.9 million from $97.5 million year over year, while its SG&A spending inched up 2 percent to $197.5 million from $193.2 million.

For full-year 2008, Beckman Coulter reported revenues of $3.1 billion versus $2.76 billion for FY 2007. It clinical diagnostics sales for the year were $2.59 billion, up 14 percent from $2.28 billion in 2007, and its life sciences sales rose 6 percent to $507 million from $477.9 million.

"Strong total and recurring revenue growth allowed us to make significant investments in our DxN molecular diagnostics product development, intellectual property for new tests, and developing markets sales and service infrastructure," Beckman Coulter Chairman, President and CEO Scott Garrett said in a statement. "Despite challenges from increased commodity prices, unprecedented capital markets turmoil and significant shifts in currency exchange rates, we delivered on our earnings commitments."

Beckman Coulter's profit for the year was $194 million, or $3.01 per share, compared to a profit of $211.3 million, or $3.30 per share, for 2007. The 2008 results include charges of $19 million for environmental remediation related to consolidating its operations in Orange County and restructuring charges of $21.4 million. This compares to no environmental remediation charge and restructuring charges of $17.7 million in 2007.

The firm's R&D spending for the year was up 2 percent at $280.1 million from $274 million in 2007, while its SG&A spending rose 13 percent to $823 million from $731.1 million.

Beckman Coulter finished the year with $120 million in cash and cash equivalents.

The firm expects its 2009 revenue to be flat at current exchange rates, with EPS of between $3.85 and $4.05.

Beckman Coulter CFO Charles Slacik said during a conference call last night that the firm is "committed to zero overhead growth in 2009. We've prioritized investments, eliminated pay increases across the company, and we are managing head count, all directed to limit growth and operating expenses," he said. "Because we are planning for slowed revenue growth in 2009, especially for cash instruments sales, strict expense management will be essential to deliver on our earnings outlook."

Beckman Coulter also announced today that its board of directors had declared a quarterly dividend of $.17 per share. It is payable on March 6 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 20.

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