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Invitrogen Shares Nosedive as Q1 Outlook Dims

NEW YORK, March 1 - Shares in Invitrogen fell sharply as the company warned that first-quarter revenue and earnings will be smaller than expected due to currency-exchange rates and weakness in some of its business units.

Invitrogen disclosed the grim first-quarter outlook as it said that strong sales of its genomics tools in the fourth-quarter helped boost revenue to $153.3 million for the period from $143.2 million one year ago. Revenue in the quarter included results from Life Technologies, which Invitrogen acquired in September 2000.

This increase, coupled with contracted R&D spending, which reached $9 million compared with $11 million in the year-ago period, caused net loss to shrink to $35.6 million, or $.67 per share, from $51.7 million, or $1.03 per share, year over year.

Excluding the cost of writing off assets and costs of the Life Technologies deal, Invitrogen reported a pro-forma profit of $20.5 million, or $.38 per share, compared with a pro-forma profit of $18.8 million, or $.35 per share.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call had expected a profit of $.38 per share.


Shares in the San Diego-based company were off $13.23, or just under 30 percent, at $32.40 in mid-morning Nasdaq trading--the biggest percentage drop on the exchange, according to Reuters. The sell-off began before the markets opened in the US on Friday, prompted by the overcast outlook described by Chief Financial Officer James Glynn in a conference call.

Glynn said that poor sales growth for the company's US molecular biology products, weak exchange rates for the yen and the euro, and problems with the company's oglionucleotides business--which suffered a shrunken market--will hobble first-quarter growth.

He said Invitrogen will now likely post first-quarter pro-forma earnings per share of $.42 to $.44 atop revenue of $156 million to $158 million. First Call estimates the company will earn $.48 per share.