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Bruker's Q4 Revenues Drop 9 Percent; Shares Rise as It Beats Estimates

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Bruker today reported that its fourth-quarter revenues fell 9 percent and its profit declined 35 percent. But its shares rose in early Tuesday trade as the firm beat analysts' consesus estimates for revenue and earnings per share.

The Billerica, Mass.-based maker of mass spectrometry and x-ray systems brought in revenues of $315.2 million for the three-month period ended Dec. 31, compared to revenues of $344.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2007. Excluding the effects of foreign currency translation, Bruker's revenues decreased 3 percent year over year. The firm beat analysts' average estimate of $311.5 million in revenues for Q4 2008.

Bruker's profit for the quarter fell to $26.2 million, or $.16 per share, from $40.3 million, or $.24 per share, partially due to slightly higher spending. The quarter included a $2.3 million restructuring charge.

Though its profit shrank for the quarter, Bruker beat analysts' consensus estimate of $.12 per share.

The company's R&D costs increased 9 percent to $33 million from $30.3 million, and its SG&A spending rose 4 percent to $69.1 million from $66.5 million.

"Our fourth quarter was again our strongest quarter of the year," said Bruker President and CEO Frank Laukien in a statement. "In the fourth quarter of 2008, we had strong new order bookings and we ended the year 2008 with a healthy backlog. However, in 2008 our margins were well below our goals, and we have put aggressive cost-cutting initiatives in place, which include voluntary top-management salary decreases for 2009, selected staff reductions, hiring and salary freezes for 2009, and cut-backs in discretionary spending."

For full-year 2008, Bruker's revenues rose 7 percent, aided by a 4 percent benefit from currency translation, to $1.11 billion from $1.03 billion.

The firm's net income fell to $64.9 million, or $.39 per share, from $98.9 million, or $.60 per share.

Its R&D costs rose to $133.8 million from $110.8 million, while its SG&A spending increased to $254.4 million from $219.7 million.

Bruker finished the year with $167.7 million in cash, short-term investments, and restricted cash.

"This year offers significant challenges due to the deepening global recession and uncertain outlook," said Laukien. "Bruker is relatively well positioned to deal with these challenges … [and] derives more than 60 percent of its revenue from universities, medical schools, as well as other non-profit and government customers, who tend to be less sensitive to economic conditions."

Company officials predicted that the firm's revenue would decline in the low single-digits or be flat for full-year 2009.

Investors reacted favorably to the results, sending Bruker's shares up 35 percent at $4.82 in early Tuesday trade on the Nasdaq.

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