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Agilent Credits Strong Performance of 1200 Infinity Product Line for 25 Percent Growth in Q3 LC Sales

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This story originally ran on Aug. 17.

Agilent officials this week attributed 25 percent year-over-year growth in the company's liquid chromatography business to strong sales of its 1200 Infinity LC product line.

Agilent President and CEO Bill Sullivan said during a conference call to discuss the company's fiscal third-quarter financial results that the growth was driven by sales of the 1290 Infinity LC, which "continues to exceed expectations," and the recently introduced 1260 Infinity and 1220 Infinity systems.

Sullivan also noted that the company's "high-end mass spec business was especially strong," echoing statements made by Waters and Bruker officials during their Q2 earning calls last month (PM 07/30/2010).

When Agilent released its 1290 system last April, it was seen by many as an attempt to compete with Waters' Acquity platform, which has generally been recognized as the standard for ultra high-performance LC instruments.

In June, Agilent released an updated version of the 1290 as well as its new 1220 and 1260 systems, which target entry-level and midrange buyers, respectively. These instruments went on sale at the beginning of July (PM 06/25/2010).

Revenues for the company's life sciences segment were up 28 percent, to $374 million from $293 million year over year. Overall, its third-quarter revenues increased 31 percent, to $1.38 billion from $1.06 billion a year ago.

Agilent's $1.5 billion acquisition of Varian this May contributed to its third-quarter revenues, Sullivan said, noting that "Varian's businesses were solidly profitable in Q3" and that "we have successfully integrated Varian's field, service and support functions into the existing Agilent structure."

The company posted net income of $205 million, or $.58 per share, compared to a net loss of $19 million, or $.06 per share, for Q3 2009. It finished the quarter with $2.32 billion in cash and cash equivalents, as well as $1.56 billion in short-term restricted cash and cash equivalents.

The firm's R&D spending for the quarter increased to $154 million from $153 million.

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