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Sigma-Aldrich Q4 Revenues Increase 3 Percent Despite Negative Currency Effects

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Sigma-Aldrich today reported a 3 percent year-over-year increase in its fourth quarter sales. 

For the three months ended Dec. 31, 2014, the firm posted $705 million in sales, up from $684 million a year ago, beating the average analysts' estimate of $694.6 million. Organically, sales were up 7 percent year over year. Currency effects reduced sales by 5 percent, while acquisitions and divestitures increased sales by 1 percent, the St. Louis-based firm said. 

By business unit, Research sales retreated to $341 million from $347 million in Q4 2013, Applied sales grew to $167 million from $156 million, and SAFC Commercial sales were up to $197 million from $181 million. 

Sigma-Aldrich recorded a profit of $133 million, or $1.11 per share, in Q4 2014, compared to a profit of $131 million, or $1.08 per share, in the year ago period. On an adjusted basis, the company had EPS of $1.14, surpassing the consensus Wall Street expectation of $1.09. 

Its R&D spending was down 6 percent to $16 million for the quarter from $17 million a year ago, while its SG&A costs rose 10 percent to $170 million from $154 million. Sigma-Aldrich also posted $7 million in other charges for the recently completed quarter, compared to none a year ago. 

For full-year 2014, the company had sales of $2.79 billion, up 3 percent from $2.70 billion in 2013, and nudging past the average analysts' estimate of $2.77 billion. Sales grew 4 percent on an organic basis, while currency effects tamped down sales by 1 percent, Sigma-Aldrich said. 

The Research business unit posted $1.40 billion in revenues, the same as in 2013, while Applied sales of $680 million was up from $629 million a year ago. SAFC Commercial sales improved to $701 million from $673 million. 

The company's net profit of $500 million, or $4.17 per share, was up from a profit of $491 million or $4.06 per share, in 2013. Its adjusted EPS of $4.37 beat the consensus Wall Street estimate of $4.31. 

Its R&D costs narrowed 2 percent year over year to $65 million from $66 million, and its SG&A costs grew 4 percent to $639 million from $612. Other charges for the year increased 55 percent to $34 million from $22 million in 2013. 

Sigma-Aldrich finished 2014 with $958 million in cash and cash equivalents. 

The firm is in the process of being acquired by Merck KGaA for $17 billion, and Sigma-Aldrich President and CEO Rakesh Sachdev said in a statement today that the deal remains on track for completion by mid-year. 

"We believe that our 80-year mission of enabling science to improve the quality of life by providing one of the broadest portfolios of high-quality products in the industry will significantly benefit the combination of the two companies, our employees and, most importantly, our large world-wide customer base," he said. 

The company said that this week its board approved a quarterly cash dividend of $.23 per share to be paid on March 13 to shareholders of record on Feb. 27. 

In early morning trading on the Nasdaq today, Sigma-Aldrich's shares were up less than 1 percent at $138.21.

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