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Waters, Bruker Take Hit Due to GeneProt s Delay on NJ Expansion

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As a result of GeneProt’s indefinite postponement of its plans to build a second proteomics factory in North Brunswick, NJ, Waters and Bruker Daltonics said last week that they had modified their expectations for instrument sales to the company.

Specifically, Waters will not ship Q-TOF mass spectrometers and liquid chromatography systems valued at $20 million to GeneProt, but will retain its minority equity position in the company. As part of the deal to supply GeneProt with instruments signed in December of last year, Waters made a $10 million equity investment in GeneProt, bringing its total stake to $14 million.

The development has forced Waters to revise its earnings forecast for the rest of the year. The Milford, Mass.-based company had anticipated $17 million in revenue from the deal, split equally between the second quarter and the remainder of the year. Now, Waters said it is lowering its predicted earnings per share for the second quarter by 3 cents, with another decrease of 3 cents anticipated for the second half of 2002. Accounting for foreign exchange rates, Waters said its earnings per share would come in around 29 cents for the current quarter, and between $1.32 and $1.37 for the year.

Because of the cancelled order, GeneProt will pay Waters a termination fee, but Waters said the fee is unlikely to affect its diluted earnings per share because it will have to reassess the value of its equity investment in GeneProt.

The effect of GeneProt’s postponed expansion on Bruker is less stark, but still significant. In November of last year, GeneProt agreed to purchase six UltraFlex TOF/TOF mass spectrometers from Bruker for its planned New Jersey facility, but the company has now revised that order to instead convert its installed 45 Bruker Esquire3000 ion traps in Geneva to more sensitive Esquire3000plus models. The upgrade is likely to take place over the next four to eight months, Bruker said.

Bruker did not disclose the pricetag for upgrading the older ion traps to the new performance level. The company has said its UltraFlex TOF/TOF mass spectrometers sell for about $575,000 each, bringing GeneProt’s unfilled order for six of the instruments for its New Jersey facility to a value of about $3.3 million. Bruker did not provide a revised earnings forecast based on the modified supply contract with GeneProt.

— JSM

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