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Waters Q1 Revenues Up 5 Percent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Waters reported today that its first quarter revenues rose 5 percent year over year, driven by strong demand for the company's products from the pharmaceutical industry.

The company posted revenues of $498 million for the quarter, compared to $475.2 million in Q1 2016, beating the average Wall Street estimate of $488.6 million.

Currency translation reduced sales growth by around 1 percent, the company said.

On a conference call following the earnings release, Waters President and CEO Christopher O'Connell said that pharmaceutical sales grew 9 percent in the quarter, with demand driven by "macro trends of rising global regulatory standards, increasing worldwide patient access to medications, and growing volume of more demanding biologic drug testing."

In the quarter, Waters' pharma business was led "by large molecule drug development applications in Europe and the Americas," he said, along with growth in "validated QC testing applications with a strong focus on data integrity" in China and India.

The company's industrial business also put in a strong performance, as revenues rose 9 percent for the quarter.

Government and academic sales were down 11 percent, though O'Connell said Waters anticipated improvement in this segment as the year progresses.

Waters instrument sales grew 6 percent with what O'Connell described as "solid contributions" from the company's LC and LC-MS platforms. "Benchtop LC-MS systems that incorporated our Xevo family of tandem quadrupole mass spectrometers grew strongly in the quarter, particularly for biopharmaceutical applications," he added.

Geographically, sales were the strongest in Asia, where they grew 14 percent. They rose 3 percent in Europe and declined in the Americas by 2 percent

The Milford, Massachusetts-based company said Q1 earnings rose to $105.6 million, or $1.31 per share, compared to $94.1 million, or $1.15 per share, a year ago. On a non-GAAP basis, Waters reported EPS of $1.46, beating the average analyst estimate of $1.33.

The firm's R&D spending rose 4 percent year over year to $30.7 million from $29.4 million a year ago, while SG&A costs rose 1 percent to $130.5 million from $129.4 million.

The company ended the quarter with $3 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and investments.

For the second quarter, Waters said it expects earnings per share of between $1.65 and $1.75. For full-year 2017, it said it anticipates earnings per share in the $7.20 to $7.40 range. Wall Street analysts are expecting EPS of $1.67 for Q2 and $7.04 for the year.

In Tuesday morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Waters were up 5 percent to $168.26.