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UPDATE: Danaher Q4 Revenues Rise 38 Percent on Life Sciences & Diagnostics Growth

The story has been updated to include comments made by company executives during a conference call.

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Danaher today reported a 38 percent increase in its fourth-quarter revenues as its Life Sciences & Diagnostics segment more than doubled its sales.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, 2011, total sales rose to $4.72 billion from $3.43 billion, short of consensus Wall Street estimates of $4.75 billion. Core revenues grew 4 percent year over year, Danaher said.

Its Life Sciences & Diagnostics segment, the largest of the conglomerate's five segments, increased sales to $1.73 billion in the fourth quarter, compared to $682.1 million a year ago, before Danaher acquired Beckman Coulter.

Core revenues in the segment rose 6 percent during the quarter, Danaher President and CEO Lawrence Culp said during a conference call after the release of the company's earnings.

Within the segment, mass spectrometry company AB Sciex grew in the low double-digits in the quarter, with demand for its instruments broad based as academic, applied, and research markets grew in excess of 10 percent year over year during the quarter, Culp said.

"We couldn't be more pleased with the first full year at AB Sciex," he said of the company acquired by Danaher in 2010.

Of the Beckman Coulter purchase, much focus has been spent on implementing the Danaher Business System in Beckman Coulter, and "DBS has had an early impact on quality ... and we're encouraged by the early signs of progress here, particularly on the assay front," he said, noting the resolution of problems with its sodium and glucose tests experience by many customers.

Organically, Beckman Coulter was flat year over year during the quarter, and on the call Culp acknowledged delaysin the recertification of the company's AccuTnl troponin test kits. The company has previously said that it expects to refile the assay with the US Food and Drug Administration in the first quarter.

Culp today stopped short of pushing back that anticipated timeline but said the process is "complex and we're working very closely with the agency to make sure we have a regimen in place that satisfies [its] objectives as well as ours.

"The team is making good progress here but at this juncture it may be a little bit slower than in some cases than anticipated, and that's the nature of that type of work," he said.

Danaher's R&D spending for the quarter came in a $282.1 million, a 33 percent increase from $212.2 million from a year ago, while SG&A expenses increased to 31 percent to $1.29 billion from $987.6 million.

Danaher's profit for the quarter came in at $570.7 million, or $.80 per share, compared to a profit of $473.9 million, or $.69 per share, a year ago. The company said that adjusted EPS from continuing operations for the quarter was $.81.

Among the company's other segments, Test & Measurement sales rose to $855.5 million from $801.4 million a year ago; Environmental grew to $806.4 million from $751.9 million; Dental increased to $550.05 million from $521.3 million, and Industrial Technologies rose to $775.8 million from $676.3 million.

For full-year 2011, Danaher's sales grew to $16.1 billion, a 28 percent increase from $12.6 billion in 2010, as Life Sciences & Diagnostics rose to $4.63 billion from $2.3 billion.

Core revenues companywide grew 7 percent year over year, the firm said, as did core revenues for Life Sciences & Diagnostics.

Its R&D costs rose 32 percent to $1.02 billion from $774.0 million a year ago, and SG&A costs spiked 28 percent to $4.61 billion from $3.60 billion.

Danaher saw its profit rise to $2.17 billion, or $3.11 per share, in 2011 from $1.79 billion, or $2.64 per share, in 2010.

On a non-GAAP basis, EPS from continuing operations in 2011 were $2.83.

Danaher's Test & Measurement segment grew its sales in 2011 to $3.39 billion from $2.83 billion in 2010; Environmental grew to $2.94 billion from $2.74 billion; Dental increased to $2.01 billion from $1.82 billion; and Industrial Technologies rose to $3.12 billion from $2.54 billion.

The firm finished the year with $537.0 million in cash and equivalents.

For the first quarter 2012, Danaher gave EPS guidance of between $.66 and $.71. It reaffirmed full-year 2012 EPS guidance of between $3.20 and $3.35.

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