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Life Tech Mass Spec Revenues Up 14 Percent in Q4 2009

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This story originally ran on Jan. 28.

Life Technologies today said that revenues for its mass spectrometry business rose 14 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009, in what is likely the last time the company reports on that business before it is sold to Danaher.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, 2009, Life Tech's mass spec business posted receipts of $130 million. The company did not disclose revenue figures from the year-ago period. Organically, the business grew 7 percent year over year.

All geographies contributed to the growth, with mass spec sales in Japan growing in the double digits compared to a year ago, Mark Stevenson, president and chief operating officer of the company, said during a conference call accompanying the release of its earnings.

For full-year 2009, mass spec revenues shrank 2 percent year over year — or 1 percent organically — to $492 million.

Companywide Life Tech's revenues grew 14 percent during Q4 2009 to $874.1 million, compared to $763.9 million in the year-ago period. Organically, revenues grew 11 percent in the quarter. The year-ago figure treats Applied Biosystems and Invitrogen as if it had been merged for the entire quarter. The merger of the two firms that resulted in Life Tech was completed on Nov. 21, 2008.

On a non-GAAP basis, operating income for Q4 2009 rose almost 30 percent to $225.7 million from almost $174 million a year ago. On a GAAP basis, net income for the most recently completed quarter rose to $48.9 million from a loss of $113.4 million a year ago.

The mass spec business contributed $16 million in other income during the quarter.

In the late summer, Life Tech and MDS announced the sale of their mass spec joint venture to Danaher. This week, potential hold-ups to the acquisition were cleared when PerkinElmer resolved legal actions it had taken against Life Tech, MDS, and its Analytical Technologies business [See related story this issue].

While Life Tech said in its earnings release that the Danaher purchase is expected to close shortly, during the conference call, David Hoffmeister, chief financial officer, hinted that the closing of the deal could occur in "the next few days," saying any guidance for 2010 that he provided makes that assumption.

During Danaher's fourth quarter earnings conference call today, Chief Financial Officer Dan Comas said that the acqusition has received "all regulatory approval," and the parties are finishing up "small transition issues."

For full-year 2009, Life Tech recorded revenues of $3.3 billion, up 5 percent from $3.1 billion a year ago on a non-GAAP basis. Organic growth for the year was 7 percent.

Operating income climbed 18 percent to $879.3 million from $743.1 million a year ago.

On a GAAP basis, net income for 2009 was $144.6 million, compared to $5.7 million in 2008. Mass specs contributed $46 million in other income for the year.

The company spent $92.3 million in R&D during the fourth quarter in 2009. As of Dec. 31, the company said it had cash and short-term investments of $648.1 million.

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