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Thermo Fisher Reports 15 Percent Rise in Q4 Revenues; Q Exactive Gains Foothold in Q-TOF Market

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This story originally ran on Feb. 1.

Thermo Fisher Scientific this week reported $3.13 billion in Q4 2011 revenues, up 15 percent from $2.72 billion in Q4 2010 and beating Wall Street estimates of $3.08 billion.

On a conference call to discuss the financial results, president and CEO Marc Casper highlighted the launch of new products, including the Q Exactive mass spectrometer, as a "key aspect" of the company's revenue growth.

"In research applications we had solid momentum in mass spectrometry," he said, adding that he was "especially pleased with the robust demand for our new Q Exactive system, which we believe is already gaining share in the Q-TOF space for protein identification and metabolomic research."

Prior to Thermo Fisher's introduction of the Q Exactive at the 2011 American Society of Mass Spectrometry annual meeting in June, the company had not participated in the Q-TOF space, and company officials cited a desire to compete in this arena as a key rationale behind the instrument's launch (PM 6/10/2011).

Casper also addressed the academic and government, whose sluggishness has in recent months led to disappointing earnings from some mass spec vendors (PM 10/28/2011).

He noted that while the academic/government end market remained relatively weak overall, it improved sequentially from the third quarter, helped along by the passage of a 2012 federal budget that slightly increased the National Institutes of Health budget, and the release of pent-up demand among researchers for products.

Moving forward, though, the company expects to see a decline in that market in 2012, Casper said.

The company's Analytical Technologies segment, which houses its mass spectrometer and LC businesses, brought in $1.08 billion in revenues, up 23 percent from $880.2 million a year ago, helped along by contributions from the Dionex business that was acquired by Thermo Fisher in May. Organic growth was 8 percent, said CFO Peter Wilver.

Companywide, quarterly profits came in at $288.9 million, or $.77 per share, compared to $297.5 million, or $.75 per share, a year ago. On an adjusted basis, EPS was $1.18, above Wall Street estimates of $1.15.

R&D spending in the quarter rose 23 percent to $95.7 million from $77.6 million a year ago, and SG&A costs increased to $699.6 million, up 17 percent from $595.6 million.

For full-year 2011, Thermo Fisher recorded $11.73 billion in revenues, an 11 percent increase from $10.57 billion in 2010 and besting analyst estimates of $11.66 billion.

Revenues from Analytical Technologies were $3.85 billion, up 19 percent from $3.24 billion a year ago, with organic growth up 6 percent.

Net income for 2011 was $1.33 billion, or $3.46 per share, compared to $1.04 billion, or $2.53 per share, in 2010. Adjusted EPS of $4.16 beat Wall Street expectations of $4.13.

Its R&D spending for full-year 2011 was up 20 percent to $340.6 million, compared to $284.8 million in 2010, and its SG&A costs were up 14 percent to $2.65 billion from $2.32 billion.

The company ended the year with $1.02 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and short-term investments.

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