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Waters Posts 2 Percent Rise in Q1 Revenues Driven by Increased Instrument Sales

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Waters today reported that its revenues in the first quarter were up 2 percent year over year, driven by a resurgence in instrument sales, particularly mass spectrometers.

The company posted revenues of $430.3 million, up from $420.5 million in Q1 2012, but short of the average Wall Street estimate of $432.4 million. Foreign currency translation lowered sales growth by 3 percent, Waters said.

According to Waters Chairman, President, and CEO Douglas Berthiaume, the company saw demand for new instrument systems grow "nicely" after a sluggish 2012.

"Though we are not seeing economic conditions that suggest a robust recovery in the near term, we sense stability in the market," he said on a conference call following release of the company's earnings.

Pharmaceutical sales grew in the quarter at a mid single-digit rate, Berthiaume said, "with strong sales in India and China compensating for slower capital releases among large multinationals."

Government and academic sales, meanwhile, grew at high single-digit rates, driven largely by sales of mass spectrometry technology, he said.

All of the company's mass spec platforms, including its QTOFs, tandem quadrupole, and single quadrupole instruments saw double-digit sales growth in the quarter, Berthiaume said.

He added that the company saw "an improvement in our business at the high end of the mass spec marketplace" and "significantly in proteomics and metabolomics applications."

On the chromatography front, Waters saw the strongest growth in its Acquity H-class and UPC2 systems, Berthiaume said.

The Milford, Mass-based company posted a profit of $121.1 million, or $1.39 per share, during the quarter, compared to a profit of $88.7 million, or $.98 per share, a year ago. On a non-GAAP basis, Waters had EPS of $1.07, below the average analyst estimate of $1.09.

The firm's R&D spending was up almost 9 percent year over year to $25.3 million from $23.3 million a year ago, while SG&A costs rose 1 percent to $118.7 million from $117.1 million.

The company ended the quarter with $1.59 billion in cash, cash equivalents, and investments.

For full-year 2013 the company said it expects non-GAAP EPS to be in the range of $5.15 to $5.25. This is $.15 below its guidance from January, a reflection of the impact of foreign currency translation at current exchange rates, CFO John Ornell said.

For Q2 2013 the company expects mid single-digit organic sales growth and non-GAAP EPS in the range of $1.18 to $1.23.

In Tuesday morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange, shares of Waters were up 3 percent at $92.