Thermo Fisher Scientific this week said that sales of its mass-spec instruments during the fourth quarter and full-year 2007 were robust across all product categories, driven by new technologies launched during recent years.
“Mass spec is a very big area for us, and that is growing gangbusters,” Thermo Fisher CEO Marijn Dekkers said during a conference call accompanying the earnings release, though he did not elaborate. "It's very much driven by the slew of new product technologies that we have been bringing out over the last few years."
According to Marc Casper, executive vice president of the company and president of its Analytical Technologies group, which houses the firm’s proteomics business, growth is occurring in both its high-end and lower-end mass specs.
During the past three years, the company has introduced several new mass specs that have pushed instrument technology forward. In 2005 Thermo Fisher launched the LTQ Orbitrap, based on a new type of mass analyzer involving an electrostatic ion trap [See PM 06/10/05].
The following year, the company introduced the LTQ XL, the first linear ion-trap mass spec with electron transfer dissociation capability. Among its adopters is the newly formed Cardiovascular Proteomics Group at the James Black Center at King’s College in London, which will be using the instrument to study the role stem cells may play in cardiovascular repair [See related story, this issue].
Last year, the company released the LTQ Orbitrap XL, combining both the Orbitrap and XL technologies, and the LTQ Orbitrap Discovery. The company is also in the midst of developing the LTQ Orbitrap with ETD capability. A spokeswoman for the company declined to comment on a launch date.
“We’ve had good success across our range of products; the hybrid products, the Orbitrap obviously continues to be strong, but we’ve seen very significant growth in our triple-quad product line as well,” Casper said during the conference call. “And that’s given us good strength at both the higher and lower price points.”
The trend is in contrast to results posted by Applied Biosystems — Thermo’s chief mass-spec rival — which reported “increased competitive pressure at the low- to mid-range of the [mass-spec] market” during the same period [See PM 01/31/08].
“It’s very much driven by the slew of new product technologies that we have been bringing out over the last few years.”
“We’ve also seen good momentum geographically [with] North America, Asia, and Europe all having good growth,” Casper added. “So while mass spec is certainly a competitive market,” the company is “positioned … well” in the market.
The company did not release sales figures for its mass specs. Overall, Analytical Technologies receipts for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2007, grew 37 percent to $1.2 billion from $849 million a year ago. Analytical Technologies receipts accounted for 44.5 percent of companywide revenues for the quarter.
On a pro forma basis for 2007 and 2006, which treats the company as though Thermo Electron and Fisher Scientific had been one company for all of 2006, receipts in the division rose 14 percent year-over-year.
For the quarter, total Thermo Fisher revenues rose 57 percent to $2.6 billion from $1.7 billion year over year. On a pro forma basis, revenues rose 12 percent year over year.
Currency translation contributed 4 percent to the increase, while acquisitions, not including divestitures, contributed 2 percent.
Profits rose more that eight-fold to $239.8 million during the quarter from $25.3 million a year ago.
For full-year 2007, revenues swelled 157 percent to $9.7 billion from $3.8 billion a year ago, or just under 10 percent on a pro forma basis. Currency translation contributed 3 percent to the increase, while acquisition, not including divestitures, contributed 1 percent.
Profit for the year climbed to $761.1 million from $168.9 million from full-year 2006.
Analytical Technologies revenues increased to $4.3 billion for full-year 2007, up 75 percent from $2.4 billion a year ago, or 14 percent on a pro forma basis.
The company reported it had $636.2 million in cash and cash equivalents as of Dec. 31, 2007. It spent $61.4 million in R&D for the quarter, up 17.6 percent from $52.2 million a year ago, and $238.7 million for the full year, up 40.2 percent from $170.2 million a year ago.
The company forecast revenues of $10.5 billion to $10.6 billion for 2008, an 8- to 9-percent increase over 2007 results.