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Waters' Q4 Sales Up on Currency Effect

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Waters today reported fourth-quarter revenue growth of 3 percent year over year, aided by a 4 percent benefit from currency translation, falling short of analysts' consensus estimate for the quarter.

The Milford, Mass.-based mass spectrometry and chromatography products firm had total revenues of $428.8 million for the three-month period ended Dec. 31, 2009, up from revenues of $418.3 million for the fourth quarter for 2008. However, the company's organic revenue declined 1 percent year over year, and missed analysts' consensus estimate of $435.8 million.

Douglas Berthiaume, chairman, president, and CEO of Waters, said during the firm's conference call this morning that instrument sales for the Waters division, which produces and sells the mass spec and chromatography products, were flat for the fourth quarter.

Waters' net income for the quarter was $104.1 million, or $1.08 per share, compared to net income of $99.4 million, or $1.01 per share for Q4 2008. Its adjusted EPS was $1.12, beating analysts' prediction of $1.09 for the most recent quarter.

The firm's R&D spending increased slightly to $19.8 million from $19.6 million, while its SG&A spending rose to $110 million from $101.5 million year over year. The 2008 fourth quarter also included a $6.5 million charge related to litigation, which was not repeated in 2009.

For full-year 2009, Waters' revenues were $1.5 billion, down 6 percent from $1.6 billion for 2008. Foreign currency translation reduced sales by 2 percent for the year.

Its net income for 2009 was $323.3 million, or $3.34 per share, compared to net income of $322.5 million, or $3.21 per share. The EPS for FY 2009 also fell short of analysts' consensus estimate of $3.43.

"In 2009, Waters faced a most challenging market environment as a steep economic slowdown and volatile capital markets combined to depress demand for laboratory instrumentation and supplies," Berthiaume said in a statement. "However, through this difficult time, we continued to invest in new product development, support our customer base and manage our expenses prudently."

Waters finished the year with $630.3 million in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments.

In early Tuesday trade on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Waters were down 3 percent at $57.54.

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