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Divestitures, Currency Translation Lead to 17 Percent Q1 Revenue Decline for Bruker

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Bruker reported after the close of the market Wednesday that its first quarter revenues fell around 17 percent, largely due to divestitures, the negative effect of currency translation, and weak sales for its nuclear magnetic resonance business.

Bruker reported total revenues of $353.5 million for the three months ended March 31, down from $423.7 million for the first quarter of 2014 and below analysts' consensus estimate of $369.8 million.

Its organic revenue declined 3 percent year over year, excluding a roughly 3 percent negative effect from divestitures, and an 11 percent negative effect from currency translation.

"Our first quarter 2015 revenues were lower due to foreign exchange rates, divestitures, and a decline in our nuclear magnetic resonance business as a result of weaker NMR demand in 2014," Frank Laukien, president and CEO of Bruker, said in a statement.

The firm sold off parts of its Chemical and Applied Markets division and undertook a restructuring of that business in the second half of 2014. Part of that process was the sale in October of its Gas Chromatography and GC single-quadrupole mass spectrometry products to Techcomp Europe.

Laukien added on a conference call following the release of the results that NMR orders in the first quarter were "healthy, in part because of business we picked up after Agilent's exit from NMR." Agilent announced in October that it would exit the NMR market, which it had entered in 2010 as part of its acquisition of Varian.

Laukien added, however, that "it takes a long time to convert new order bookings into revenue in the NMR business. Therefore, we'd like to observe orders further into 2015 before assessing whether we have turned the corner in NMR."

Laukien also said the firm experienced strong revenue and order growth for its MALDI Biotyper, particularly in China. The platform identifies microbes by matching the protein profiles of sample organisms generated via MALDI mass spec to profiles contained in proprietary databases.

Laukien noted that during the quarter Bruker received 510(k) clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration for an expanded version of the MALDI Biotyper. It now to identifies 210 species or species groups covering 280 clinically relevant bacteria and yeast species.

Laukien said that revenues from the Americas and Europe remained steady while the firm saw weakness in parts of Asia and the India, Middle East, and Africa regions.

Bruker posted net income of $6.5 million, or $.04 per share, for Q1, compared to a profit of $8.7 million, or $.05 per share, for Q1 2014. On a non-GAAP basis, its EPS was $.14, above the average Wall Street estimate of $.10.

The firm's R&D spending dropped 19 percent to $37.2 million from $46 million, while its SG&A expenses fell 12 percent to $94.6 million from $109.5 million. It also reported other charges of $13.2 million for the quarter, up from $3.6 million in Q1 2014.

"Our lower spending and improved profit margins are the result of our ongoing restructuring programs and the product line divestitures we completed in our Chemical & Applied Markets division last year," said Laukien. "On a currency-adjusted basis, we experienced healthy order growth in the first quarter of 2015, with strength in our NMR business."

Bruker finished the quarter with $334.5 million in cash and cash equivalents and $157.8 million in short-term investments.

The firm said it expects organic revenue growth of around 1 percent for FY 2015 with non-GAAP EPS flat compared to 2014.

"Q1 2015 was a reasonable start to the year for Bruker," Laukien concluded on the call. "While we expect to drive higher organic revenue growth, many of the initiatives we have launched to drive higher operating income and cash flow are having a clear demonstrable effect on our financial performance and provide a good basis for capturing operating leverage in our business with resumed growth."

In Thursday morning trade on the Nasdaq, shares of Bruker were up around 2 percent at $20.23.