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Sigma-Aldrich Q1 Sales up 2 Percent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Sigma-Aldrich today reported a 2 percent increase in its first-quarter sales as the firm fell short of the consensus analyst estimate on the top line but exceeded it on the bottom line.

For the three months ended March 31, the company reported sales of $689 million, up from $675 million in the year-ago quarter. Analysts had expected on average $690.6 million.

Sales in Sigma-Aldrich's Research business unit were trimmed by a fraction of 1 percent year over year to $359 million from $361 million a year ago on the effect of foreign currency exchange rates and the impact from divestitures, it said. Within that business, academic, government, and hospital sales were flat, while pharmaceutical sales declined "slightly."

The Applied business unit was up 8 percent to $171 million from $159 million as diagnostic and testing segment sales grew in the high-single digits organically and sales in the industrial segment improved in the mid-single digits.

The SAFC Commercial business unit rose 3 percent to $159 million from $155 million. Foreign currency exchange rates moved sales up by 1 percent, while divestitures tamped it down by 1 percent, the company said.

Sigma-Aldrich CEO Rakesh Sachdev said in a statement that the company's end markets remain stable. "Our 2014 global supply chain initiatives are off to a good start and contributed to the margin improvement in the first quarter."

He added that "US academic spending continues to be soft, although we expect the funding environment to improve in the second half of the year."

The company posted a profit of $126 million, or $1.05 per share, compared to a profit of $122 million, or $1.01 per share, in Q1 2013. Adjusted EPS was $1.06 for the recently completed quarter, edging out the consensus analyst estimate of $1.03.

Sigma-Aldrich trimmed its R&D expenses 6 percent year over year to $16 million from $17 million while it shaved its SG&A costs a fraction of 1 percent to $160 million from $161 million.

It finished the first quarter with $727 million in cash and cash equivalents.

For full-year 2014, the firm said that organic sales remain on track to grow in the low- to mid-single digits. Anticipated adjusted EPS was reaffirmed at a range of $4.30 to $4.40.