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Agilent Posts 9 Percent Rise in Q4 Revenues as Academic/Government Gloom Continues

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This story originally ran on Nov. 16.

Agilent this week reported $1.73 billion in Q4 2011 revenues, up 9 percent over $1.58 billion in Q4 2010.

The company's Life Sciences division, which includes its mass spectrometry and proteomics businesses, posted revenues of $471 million, a 9 percent increase over $431 million in the year ago period.

The company's revenues missed Wall Street's forecast of $1.75 billion for the quarter. It beat Wall Street's earnings per share estimates of $.82, however, posting adjusted EPS of $.84. Net income for the fourth quarter was $289 million, or $.82 per share, compared to $292 million, or $.83 per share a year ago.

Like other mass spec vendors (PM 10/28/2011), Agilent reported softness in the US academic and government markets, with Nick Roelofs, president of Life Sciences, calling it "a real problem" during a conference call following release of the earnings.

The North American academic/government market fell by a percentage in the teens in the fourth quarter, Roelofs said. Nonetheless, the division's academic/government business grew by 4 percent, driven by growth outside the US.

The company expects this trend to continue, he said, noting that while the National Science Foundation's budget for 2012 is down roughly 2.4 percent and the National Institutes of Health budget will be only slightly up, the company anticipates around a five percent growth rate for academic and government spending in Europe. On a worldwide basis, academia/government is a "pretty healthy mid-single digit market," Roelofs said.

Agilent's R&D spending in the quarter increased 3 percent to $163 million from $159 million a year ago.

It finished the quarter with $3.53 billion in cash and cash equivalents.

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