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Beckman to Cut 350 Jobs in Restructuring; Reports Increased Q2 Sales, Lackluster Earnings

NEW YORK, July 22 (GenomeWeb News) - Beckman Coulter plans to cut 350 jobs in an effort to reorganize and cut costs, the company said today. Beckman also reported a slight increase in sales but a drop in earnings for the second quarter of 2005.


The company plans to fold its two operating divisions -- Clinical Diagnostics and Biomedical Research -- into one, creating four business groups that will focus on chemistry systems, immunoassay systems, cellular systems, and discovery and automation systems, respectively, as well as two commercial organizations concentrating on domestic and international markets. In addition, Beckman said it will review "minor" product lines, facilities, and other assets that do not support its new strategy. Beckman will take a charge of up to $60 million during the second half of this year for the reorganization.


The layoffs will comprise only around 3 percent of Beckman's staff. The company employed 10,200 people as of Dec. 31, 2004.


In addition, Beckman will offer more operating-type leases instead of sales-type leases for its diagnostic systems, meaning that revenues will be recognized over a longer period. Beckman hopes this will "further improve competitiveness, sales efficiency, and product margins," according to a company statement.


Beckman's sales for the quarter totaled $618.8 million, up almost 4 percent from $597.3 million during the same period last year. In the biomedical research division, sales climbed more than 5 percent, while clinical diagnostics sales increased 3 percent.


R&D expenses climbed to $50.1 million, from $46.6 million during the same quarter in 2004.


Beckman posted earnings of $47.7 million, or $.73 per share, for the quarter, down 18 percent from the year-ago quarter, when earnings totaled $58.3 million, or $.88 per share.


As of June 30, Beckman had $46.7 million in cash and cash equivalents.

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