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Illumina Q4 Revenues Grow 4 Percent Driven by NovaSeq X Instrument, Consumables Sales

This article has been updated to include information about planned layoffs at Illumina.

NEW YORK – Illumina on Thursday afternoon reported a 4 percent year-over-year increase in fourth quarter revenues and a 2 percent drop for full-year 2023, slightly above preliminary results and just beating Wall Street's expectations.

"While our customers generally remain constrained in their purchasing, we are well positioned for growth as market conditions improve," CEO Jacob Thaysen said in a statement. "Illumina is focused on three key priorities to accelerate value creation: driving our top line; focusing on operational excellence, including boosting productivity, cost savings, and customer-focused innovation; and working to resolve Grail as quickly as possible."

For the three months ended Dec. 31, Illumina posted $1.12 billion in revenues, up from $1.08 billion in the same quarter in 2022. On a constant currency basis, revenues were also up 4 percent. Analysts, on average, had expected $1.09 billion in revenues.

Core revenues grew 3 percent in Q4 to $1.10 billion compared to $1.07 billion in Q4 2022, and 3 percent on a constant currency basis.

"Core Illumina sequencing consumables revenue of $687 million was flat year over year," CFO Joydeep Goswami said on a conference call with investors following the release of results. "Stronger-than-expected NovaSeq X consumables purchases were largely offset by the anticipated reduction in NovaSeq 6000 consumables and the impact of pricing transitions."

Thaysen further noted that the results were driven by NovaSeq X instrument and consumables sales. "In Q4, we saw higher-than-expected growth in X consumables sales following the late October launch of our much anticipated 25B reagent kit," he told investors. During the Q&A portion of the call, Goswami noted that "about 40 percent of our X customers so far have adopted the 25B [kit]."

Sequencing instruments revenues were $161 million, up 10 percent year over year, driven by NovaSeq X. The firm shipped 79 NovaSeq Xs in Q4, bringing the total installed base to 352 instruments. "As of the end of 2023, our net installed base for NovaSeq 6000 was approximately 1,770 instruments, which reflects approximately 110 instruments that have been deactivated, between 2017 and 2023," Thaysen said. "The majority of these were in 2023, due to customer transitions to NovaSeq X. We expect this to increase in 2024 as customers continue to ramp up utilization of NovaSeq X."

For the quarter, COVID-19 surveillance contributed approximately $4 million in total revenue, down from $20 million in the prior-year period.

Core Illumina sequencing service and other revenues were $152 million, up 16 percent from $131 million a year ago, driven by an increase in revenue from strategic partnerships and higher instrument service contract revenue on a growing installed base, Goswami said.

Grail revenue for Q4 was $30 million, up 30 percent year over year, driven by accelerating adoption of Galleri.

Americas revenues were flat compared to $577 million a year ago. Europe revenues were up 17 percent, year over year, "on a relatively easy prior-year comparable," Thaysen said.

Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa revenues were down 1 percent from the prior year period. China revenues were down 13 percent from $94 million a year ago "reflecting continued geopolitical challenges and local competition in mid-throughput" sequencing, Thaysen said. "We've already taken certain pricing and other strategic actions that are beginning to yield results."

Illumina's net loss for the quarter totaled $176.0 million, or $1.11 per share, compared to a net loss of $140 million, or $.89 per share, in Q4 of 2022. Non-GAAP EPS came in at $.14, above the average Wall Street estimate of $.02 per share.

For full-year 2023, Illumina reported $4.50 billion in revenues, down 2 percent from $4.58 billion in 2022 and slightly above the average Wall Street estimate of $4.48 billion. Core revenues for the year were $4.44 billion, down almost 3 percent from $4.55 billion the year before and 1 percent on a constant currency basis. Grail revenues were $93 million, up 69 percent from $55 million in 2022.

Illumina's net loss for the year was $1.16 billion, or $7.34 per share, compared to a net loss of $4.4 billion, or $28 per share, in 2022. Non-GAAP EPS was $.86, beating analysts' average estimate of $.73 per share.

As of Dec. 31, Illumina held $1.05 billion in cash and cash equivalents and $6 million in short-term investments.

Illumina expects 2024 core revenues to be approximately flat compared to 2023. For Q1 2024, Illumina expects core revenues in the range of $1.03 billion to $1.04 billion, reflecting a year-over-year decrease of 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent, driven by lower expected NovaSeq X instrument shipments due to a "more modest backlog," Goswami said.

"Globally, we expect our customers will remain cautious," Thaysen said. "While some macro[economic] headlines are encouraging, we haven't yet seen that translate to increased investment in our industry."

Separately, Illumina disclosed in a Worker Adjustment and Training Notification (WARN) notice, filed with the state of California in late January, that it will lay off 111 employees (about 1 percent of its workforce) from its San Diego headquarters effective March 12, 2024.