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Agilent Technologies Finds GAAP Profitability, Life Sciences Group Reports Record Orders

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Agilent Technologies, the No. 2 manufacturer of pre-printed micro-arrays, had $333 million in orders and $321 million in revenues for its Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis division, up from $303 million in orders and $298 million in revenues for the same period last year, as it returned to profitability in the fiscal fourth quarter of 2003.

Overall, the company reported revenues of $1.68 billion for the quarter, which ended Oct. 31, 2003, compared to $1.7 billion for the year-ago quarter.

Agilent does not break out its microarray sales, but has previously told BioArray News that its microarray business grew in the fourth quarter.

Life sciences had a modest advance in its business, said Adrian Dillon, Agilent’s chief financial officer, adding: “The NIH budget release did spur higher spending in genomics and proteomics, and that helped our ion trap mass spec and our gene array business.”

Pharma spending remained mixed in the quarter, said Dillon, impacting sales of the company’s LC equipment.

The company’s results, reported Monday, did not include $58 million in net restructuring charges, out of $82 million of cash restructuring costs, and intangibles amortization. The company reported GAAP net income of $13 million for the quarter, compared to a GAAP loss of $236 million for the year-ago quarter. It spent $221 million in the fourth quarter on research and development, compared to $322 million for the same quarter in 2002.

Agilent, which spun off from Hewlett-Packard in 1999, ended the quarter with about $1.6 billion in cash and equivalents, up $177 million from the prior quarter. It reported 29,000 employees, down 7,000 from last year, including 1,000 departures in the fourth quarter as the company trimmed its payroll.

“We had a very good finish to a very tough year,” Ned Barnholt, Agilent’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We met our commitment to achieve an operating breakeven cost structure of $1.45 billion. We still believe a recovery [in the economy] will be gradual.”

Looking ahead, Barnholt said, “About 40 percent of Agilent’s revenues today are tied to consumer electronics. As such, the first quarter of fiscal 2004 will be seasonally weaker. But, we believe Agilent now has the cost structure as well as the innovative new products to take full advantage of the recovery in our markets.”

Demand was strong for new and refreshed product families in the LSCA group, said Barnholt in the company’s conference call.

During the quarter, Agilent announced its entry into the race to market and sell a whole human genome single-microarray, a technical milestone for the microarray industry. The company shipped the product, which contains approximately 44,000 features and is printed on an 1x3-inch glass slide readable on any microarray scanner, to beta customers within weeks after announcing a two-slide set containing the company’s selection of content of the human genome on two slides. The move demonstrated the dynamics of the microarray market over the summer.

The company offers nine catalog oligonucleotide arrays, including a two-slide human genome set, as well as Arabidopsis, Magnaporthe grisea, a newly introduced rice array, yeast, mouse and rat arrays.

The company is creating a microarray data-based breast cancer test in a collaborative effort with Agendia, a diagnostic services startup in the Netherlands.

— MOK

 

Recent Agilent Coverage in BioArray News

  • Agilent Microarray R&D Manager Doug Amorese Speaks on Quality Manufacturing Practices [10/22/2003]
  • Affymetrix and Agilent Turn up the Volume To Market Single Whole Human Genome Chips [10/8/2003]
  • NIDDK’s Margaret Cam on Microarray Cross-Platform Comparisons [10/1/2003]
  • Agilent Approaches Diagnostics Arena With Agendia Research Collaboration [9/2/2003]
  • Agilent, Paradigm Introduce Mouse Array [8/13/2003]
  • Agilent, NimbleGen Join ABI in Race to Make, Sell One-Chip Whole Genome Array [7/30/2003]
  • Agilent’s Barney Saunders on Entering the Great Array Race [7/30/2003]
  • EXTRA: The Race is On: Agilent, NimbleGen Take Up ABI’s Challenge To Make First Whole-Genome Microarray [7/28/2003]
  • Agilent Launches Human 1B Chip, Software, and an RNAi Partnership [6/25/2003]
  • Agilent Introduces Two Microarrays With a Novel Innovation: Bald Spots [5/2/2003]

 

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