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With Economy Uncertain, Bruker Cuts Staff and Waters Consolidates Sales and Support

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Ostensibly in light of weak economic activity in the US, Waters and Bruker Daltonics both took steps last week to trim their future expenses, with Bruker taking the more drastic step of trimming 10 percent of its workforce.

Citing “uncertain economic conditions,” Bruker’s cuts will affect between 40 and 45 of the Billerica, Mass.-based company’s 477 employees in the US and Germany. The lay-offs will affect all of the company’s departments equally, said John Hulburt, Bruker’s chief financial officer. Although Bruker will take a $2 million restructuring charge in the second quarter, the company said the resulting cost savings will add up to $2.5 million over the next year, allowing the company to attain its goal of earnings per share of 12 to 15 cents for 2003.

For the second quarter, Bruker said that its new order bookings grew 22 percent over the comparable period a year ago, a slight decrease from the 25 percent growth it has experienced in recent quarters. The company added that stronger growth in new order bookings from academic, government, and non-profit laboratories compensated for slower growth from pharmaceutical, biotech, and chemical companies. Likewise, stronger growth in new order bookings from countries in the Pacific Rim region offset slower growth in the US because of economic conditions, the company said.

 

Waters Consolidates Sales, Service, Support

Waters, on the other hand, has decided to integrate Micromass’ sales, service, and support team into its own organization for selling and supporting liquid chromatography equipment, the company said last week.

The move comes only partly from a desire to lower costs, however, Waters spokesman Gene Cassis told ProteoMonitor. While Waters expects cost savings from not having to set up parallel sales and support teams in new markets such as China, Cassis said the consolidation will help the company sell integrated systems to customers, and expand Micromass’ reach into terrority now only served by Waters field engineers.

There are no layoffs associated with integrating the two companies’ sales, service, and support teams, Cassis said. The consolidation takes effect immediately.

From a North American customer’s perspective, Cassis added that the change may in fact decrease service response time, as the larger number of Waters field engineers will now be qualified to service Micromass mass spectrometers. “We have many more Waters [field engineers] than Micromass, who are familiar with servicing mass spectrometers,” he said. “It’ll mean faster service response from a service point of view.” Purchasing integrated liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry systems will now require dealing only with one Waters/Micromass representative, Cassis added.

When asked whether Micromass was experiencing customer buying patterns similar to that of Bruker, with decreases in pharma and biotech offset by increases in academia and federal labs, Cassis declined to give order statistics. However, he said that about 80 percent of Micromass’ sales are focused on for-profit entities.

— JSM

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