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Sigma-Aldrich's Q4 Revenues Drop 4 Percent on Currency Impact

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Sigma-Aldrich today reported a four percent decline in fourth-quarter revenues year over year, which included a negative impact of 7 percent from foreign currency translation.

The St. Louis-based chemicals and lab products firm brought in revenues of $509.8 million for the three-month period ended Dec. 31, compared to revenues of $532.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2007. Sigma said that organic sales for its research business grew 4 percent, while sales for its specialty fine chemicals (SAFC) business were flat with the year before.

The Research Essentials business had sales of $97.6 million, the Research Specialties business had sales of $190 million, the Research Biotech business had sales of $77.1 million, and the Research Chemicals business brought in revenues of $364.7 million for the quarter. SAFC had sales of $145.1 million.

Sigma's profit declined slightly to $84.3 million, or $.68 per share, from $84.9 million, or $.64 per share.

The company's R&D expenses increased around 3 percent to $16.1 million from $15.7 million, while its SG&A spending rose 2 percent to $134.2 million from $131.6 million.

For full-year 2008, Sigma's revenues grew 8 percent, aided by a 3 percent benefit from currency translation. The firm had total revenues of $2.2 billion versus $2.04 billion in 2007.

The firm's Research Essentials business had sales of $420.9 million for the year, while Research Specialties had sales of $824.1 million, Research Biotech had sales of $332.2 million, and Research Chemicals had sales of $1.58 billion. The SAFC business had 2008 sales of $623.5 million.

Sigma's profit for the year was $341.5 million, or $2.65 per share, up 10 percent from a profit of $311.1 million, or $2.34 per share, in 2007.

The company's R&D spending for the year grew 9 percent to $64.55 million from $59.3 million, while its SG&A spending also increased around 9 percent to $561.6 million from $517.1 million.

Sigma-Aldrich finished the year with $251.8 million in cash and cash equivalents.

"Demand from several of the company's key markets is expected to decline in 2009, but with new program launches, global sales initiatives and market share gains, the company expects to be able to achieve low single-digit organic sales growth in 2009," Sigma said in a statement. The firm said that it expects currency translation to reduce 2009 growth by approximately 7 percent, if exchange rates remain at current levels.

Sigma also noted that its board of directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $.145 per share payable on March 16 to shareholders of record on March 2.

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