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Agilent Array Q3 Sales Rise 20 Percent Amid Decline in Bio-Analytical Revenue

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By Justin Petrone

Demand for Agilent Technologies' array products "remains strong," and the company posted a 20-percent rise in array revenue during its third fiscal quarter, Agilent said this week.

The results were in contrast to poor performance in the firm’s Bio-analytical segment, whose revenue during the period fell 8 percent year over year, while company-wide receipts fell 27 percent.

All of Agilent’s segments were down during the quarter. For the three months ended July 31, Agilent posted total revenues of $1.06 billion compared to $1.4 billion in the year-ago period, though the number beat analysts’ estimates of $1.02 billion for the period.

Bio-analytical segment revenues, meantime, dipped 8 percent to $496 million, with life sciences down 5 percent to $234 million year over year. Agilent attributed the drop to weak spending by pharma and biotech customers, which contracted 6 percent during the quarter, as well as a 2-percent decline in sales to academic and government customers.

Geographically, revenues in Europe were down 22 percent and fell 13 percent in the Americas year over year. Asia, though, remained an "area of strength," Agilent said. Year over year, sales in China were up 48 percent, sales in Japan grew 8 percent, and sales to other Asian markets rose 19 percent.

Within its Bio-analytical group, array sales were up nearly 20 percent and Agilent said it saw "strong adoption" of its SurePrint comparative genomic hybridization arrays during the quarter. Sales of its gas and liquid chromatography products "remained weak," though it saw "particularly strong" interest in the 1290 Infinity LC that it introduced in July, it said. Agilent does not break out revenues for specific product segments.

Meantime, Chemical Analysis revenues slid 11 percent to $262 million from last year, Electronic Measurement receipts fell 36 percent to $542 million, and Semiconductor and Board Test segment revenue fell 56 percent to $36 million.

R&D spending during the period declined 10 percent to $153 million from $170 million in the comparable period of 2008. Selling, general, and administrative spending dipped 7 percent to $387 million from $415 million in the year-ago period.

The company reported a net loss of $19 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, compared to net income of $169 million, or $0.45 per share, in the prior-year period.

The third-quarter net loss includes restructuring and asset-impairment charges of $81 million. Agilent also reported $11 million in non-cash amortization a $36 million tax benefit, and $16 million in other charges.

Excluding these items, Agilent said that its adjusted net income would have been $53 million, or $0.15 per share, compared to $198 million, or $0.53 per share, year over year.

President and CEO Bill Sullivan said in a statement that Agilent "performed well" in the quarter, given the "extraordinarily difficult economic conditions around the world." He added that the company is optimistic that the quarter ended July 31 "will represent the cyclical low point for Agilent."

The firm said it believes that market conditions will "remain difficult" through the end of its fiscal year, but noted that "recent increases in quotation activity and order funnels suggest that a modest recovery could begin early in fiscal 2010."

"We expect our fourth-quarter revenues to improve seasonally, and that the benefits of our restructuring program will become increasingly evident in our operating results," Sullivan said.

As of July 31, Agilent held $1.48 billion in cash and cash equivalents.

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