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US Stimulus Funds Help Mass Spec as Bruker Q1 Revenues Climb 20.5 Percent

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This story originally ran on April 29.

Bruker's CEO this week said that the firm's life science mass spectrometry business saw healthy growth in the first quarter, aided by stimulus funding.

The firm reported overall 20.5 percent revenue growth for the three months ended March 31, including double-digit growth in all four divisions comprising the Bruker Scientific Instrument segment.

During a conference call following the release of Bruker's earnings, CEO Frank Laukien said that, in particular, its businesses that were more exposed to stimulus funding — specifically Daltonics' mass specs and Bruker Biospin's magnetic resonance imaging business — saw "slightly faster growth."

In total, he added, Bruker saw more than $10 million in US stimulus orders.

US stimulus funding, while still far from being torrential, is "coming in at a steady trickle now. This did start last year, but it started much later than anyone anticipated, including ourselves," Laukien said.

The company did not break out revenue for each of the four divisions of BSI, but as a whole, the segment posted receipts of $260.3 million, a 16.4 percent improvement from $223.6 million in the first quarter of 2009. Net income for the division was $17.2 million for the quarter, compared to $10.2 million a year ago.

On a currency neutral basis, BSI revenue rose 8.6 percent, Brian Monahan, Bruker's chief financial officer, said on the conference call.

Bruker's other segment, Bruker Energy & Supercon Technologies, saw a 156-percent increase in revenue, to $20.7 million, compared to $8.1 million in Q1 2009.

Companywide, Bruker posted $277.7 million in revenue, up from $230.5 million a year ago. Profits nearly doubled to $16.1 million, or $.10 per diluted share, from $8.4 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, a year ago.

Geographically, Laukien said that US bookings did "pretty decent" during the quarter. In Japan, stimulus-related business slowed down as most of those orders occurred in the fourth quarter of 2009, but Bruker's industrial business in the country picked up. Its Chinese business remained strong, he added, while India is "coming back nicely."

Its European operations were "quite healthy" even as Portugal, Spain and Greece's economies started to tumble. Bruker does little business in those countries, Laukien said, and while the economic crises in those countries may weaken the Euro, "quite honestly … [the] dampening of the Euro is quite welcome from our point of view."

R&D spending for the quarter was $32.8 million, compared to $29.1 million a year ago. As of March 31, Bruker had $206.6 million in cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash, it said.

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