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Bruker Preliminary Q4 Revenues Up 8 Percent

This article has been updated from a previous version to include comments made by Bruker executives during the company's earnings call.

NEW YORK – Bruker on Tuesday reported that its preliminary fourth quarter Q4 revenues were up 8 percent year over year.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, the company reported revenues of $599.9 million, up from $553.6 million in Q4 2018, and beating the consensus Wall Street estimate of $576.8 million.

Organic revenue growth during the quarter was 5 percent, as acquisitions added 4 percent while foreign currency translation had a negative effect of 1 percent.

Bruker was previously scheduled to report its Q4 and full-year 2019 earnings on Feb. 12, but postponed reporting due to delays in completing procedures related to its effective income tax for 2019. The company said today that the audit committee of its board of directors "has initiated an internal investigation into an allegation recently received in connection with the year-end close, primarily relating to income tax matters including the effective income tax rate for 2019 and the related income tax balance sheet accounts."

Because of this investigation, Bruker is not yet able to report financial results including its tax rate, EPS, cash flow and balance sheet for Q4 and full year 2019.

The company's Bruker Scientific Instruments segment, which houses its life science mass spec business, reported revenues of $546.6 during the quarter, up 9 percent from $500.5 million in Q4 2018. Revenues from the Bruker Energy & Supercon Technologies (BEST) segment were $57.7 million, up 4 percent from $55.6 million the year before.

Bruker's Q4 R&D costs rose 4 percent to $46.7 million from $44.8 million the year before, while its SG&A expenses rose 11 percent to $130.3 million from $117.3 million.

During a conference call following release of the earnings results, Bruker President, Chairman, and CEO Frank Laukien said the company had seen strong performance from its life science mass spec business during the quarter and throughout full-year 2019. He highlighted in particular adoption of the company's timsTOF Pro mass spec system as well as the company's MALDI Biotyper clinical microbiology platform.

He added that the company expects both platforms to contribute to strong growth in life science mass spec in 2020. Laukien also noted that the company anticipates in 2020 possible US Food and Drug Administration approval of its Sepsityper kit that allows for rapid sepsis identification from positive blood cultures.

During Q4, organic revenue was down low single digits in Europe while up single digits in North America and up in the low teens in Asia-Pacific driven by "very strong growth in China," said Bruker CFO Gerald Herman.

For full-year 2019, Bruker's revenues rose 9 percent to $2.07 billion from $1.90 billion in 2018, beating the consensus Wall Street estimate of $2.05 billion. Currency effects lowered revenues by 3 percent, while acquisitions increased revenues by 6 percent. Organically, revenues rose 6 percent, the firm said.

Bruker's 2019 R&D costs increased 14 percent year over year to $187.7 million from $173.4 million, while its SG&A spending rose 12 percent to $500.2 million from $444.7 million.

Its Scientific Instruments segment reported revenues of $1.88 billion in 2019, up 10 percent from $1.71 billion in 2018. Revenues from its BEST segment were $209.9 million, up 8 percent from $194.8 million the year before.

For 2020, Bruker projects year-over-year organic revenue growth of between 4 percent and 5 percent. Herman noted that this guidance does not include the potential negative impact of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus, adding that while Bruker does not have any factories or significant outsourcing in China, its "ability to sell, service, and install equipment in China has been disrupted."

In morning trading on Nasdaq, Bruker shares were down approximately 1 percent to $50.01.