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Life Technologies' Q4 Revenues Increase 14 Percent as Firm Swings Back to Profit

This article has been updated with comments from a conference call and a stock quote.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Life Technologies today reported that its fourth-quarter revenues rose 14 percent, led by its Molecular Biology Systems and Genetic Systems divisions, as the firm swung back to a profit compared to last year's Q4 loss.

The company reported non-GAAP revenues of $874.1 million for the three-month period ended Dec. 31, 2009, compared to $763.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2008. Life Technologies was formed out of the nearly $7 billion merger of Invitrogen and Applied Biosystems, which was completed in late November of 2008, hence the reason for using non-GAAP figures provided by the firm.

Its Q4 2009 revenues easily beat analysts' consensus estimate of $842.6 million.

Life Technologies' Molecular Biology division brought in revenues of $422 million for the quarter, up 19 percent, or 15 percent organically, year over year. Revenues for its Genetic Systems division rose 16 percent, or 13 percent on an organic basis, to $234 million. Its Cell Systems division had revenues of $211 million, up 6 percent, or 4 percent on an organic basis.

The firm's mass spectrometry operations, which are in the process of being sold to Danaher, provided revenues of $130 million, up 14 percent.

Life Technologies posted a profit of $48.9 million, or $.26 per share, for the fourth quarter, compared to a net loss of $113.4 million, or $.95 per share. The Q4 2008 loss was due to a variety of charges related to the merger. On a non-GAAP basis, which excludes acquisition, integration, and other charges, the firm's Q4 2009 EPS was $.80 — beating analysts' estimate of $.72.

Its R&D expenses for the quarter rose to $91.4 million from $79.2 million, and its SG&A spending increased to $250.8 million from $233.1 million.

Life Technologies' revenues for full-year 2009 were $3.3 billion, up 5 percent from revenues of $3.1 billion in 2008.

The firm's Molecular Biology division brought in revenues of $1.58 billion for the year, up 7 percent; its Genetic Systems division had 8 percent revenue growth to $907 million; and its Cell Systems division had flat revenue growth at $789 million. The mass spec operations brought in revenues of $492 million, down 2 percent.

Life Technologies profit for the year was $144.6 million, or $.80 per share, compared to $5.7 million, or $.04 per share, for full-year 2008. On a non-GAAP basis, its EPS for the year was $3.04, compared to analysts' consensus estimate of $2.96.

Its R&D spending for the year was $333.9 million versus $322.7 million for 2008, while its SG&A spending for the year dropped to $977.6 million from $996.1 million.

"This performance was the result of a lot of hard work and executing on our three strategic comparatives: delivering on the integration, realizing the potential of the new company, and investing for future growth," Life Technologies Chairman and CEO Greg Lucier said during the firm's conference call this morning.

He said that during the year the firm delivered more than $100 million in synergies tied to the merger, "considerably higher than our original expectations." Lucier added that in 2010, revenue acceleration and cost reductions as a result of the merger will generate $175 million in synergies on an annual basis in 2011, a full year ahead of the integration schedule.

Life Technologies finished the year with $648.1 million in cash and short-term investments.

The firm expects full-year 2010 organic revenue growth in the mid- to high-single digits, with EPS of between $3.30 and $3.50 on a non-GAAP basis.

The forecast for higher organic revenue growth is based on expectations tied to NIH stimulus funding, the bulk of which the firm expects to realize in 2010, Lucier said during the call. "We are actually encouraged that the NIH in this current environment of potentially flat discretionary spending will actually be one of the budgets that does get an increase," he said.

In Thursday afternoon trade on the Nasdaq, shares of Life Technologies were up 3 percent at $50.16.

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