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AB Sciex Posts Strong Q4 Sales as Academic, Research Markets Grow at Double-Digit Rates

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This story originally ran on Jan. 31.

Danaher this week reported a 38 percent increase in its fourth-quarter revenues, with its AB Sciex business growing at a low double-digit rate.

On a conference call to discuss the financial results, Danaher CEO Larry Culp said AB Sciex's growth was driven by continued uptake of the company's TripleTOF 5600 mass spectrometer and was broad based, "with academic, applied, and research markets all growing in excess of 10 percent."

He added that AB Sciex had seen over 500 basis points of improvement in its operating margins in 2011.

Culp cautioned, however, that despite the strong end of the year for the firm's mass spec business, uncertainty still surrounds both the academic and government and pharma markets.

"We're clearly not banking on anything that's government-funded being particularly robust," he said, noting that China and Germany could prove exceptions. He added that "we always watch the pharma end market with a conservative posture just given some of the issues that [firms] are going through [with] the resets of R&D spend and R&D operations."

For the quarter, sales for Danaher's Life Sciences & Diagnostics segment, which houses AB Sciex, increased to $1.73 billion, compared to $682.1 million a year ago, before it acquired Beckman Coulter.

Total sales rose to $4.72 billion from $3.43 billion, short of Wall Street estimates of $4.75 billion. Core revenues grew 4 percent year over year.

Danaher's profit for the quarter was $570.7 million, or $.80 per share, compared to a profit of $473.9 million, or $.69 per share, a year ago. The company said that adjusted EPS from continuing operations for the quarter was $.81.

R&D costs for the quarter were $282.1 million, a 33 percent increase from $212.2 million from a year ago.

For full-year 2011, Danaher's sales grew to $16.1 billion, a 28 percent increase from $12.6 billion in 2010, as Life Sciences & Diagnostics rose to $4.63 billion from $2.3 billion. Core revenues companywide grew 7 percent year over year.

The company's profits rose in 2011 to $2.17 billion, or $3.11 per share, up from $1.79 billion, or $2.64 per share, in 2010.

R&D costs rose 32 percent to $1.02 billion from $774 million a year ago.

The firm finished the year with $537 million in cash and equivalents.