2007 Company of the Year: Bruker BioSciences

As a feature of our annual forecast issue, IBO selects a firm from our industry as “company of the year.” In designating the company of the year, IBO recognizes an analytical instrument maker that has accomplished significant technical, operational and financial achievements. Such achievements are a function of strong financial performance, market leadership, innovative product introductions and key strategic investments.

IBO’s 2007 company of the year is Bruker BioSciences. In 2007, the company reached the big leagues, announcing a merger with the last and largest of the Bruker family of firms, Bruker BioSpin (see IBO 12/15/07). While this news was dramatic—although not unexpected—it is not the major reason Bruker BioSciences earned special recognition in 2007.

The company was formed in 2003 following the merger of Bruker Daltonics, its MS business, with Bruker AXS, the X-ray spectroscopy company. In 2006, Bruker Optics was acquired. As each of these entities joined Bruker BioSciences, they each faced the challenges of shareholder approval and performance measurements that private firms can avoid. Bruker BioSciences received widespread investor approval: its stock price soared 77% in 2007. To be fair, much of the gain followed the merger announcement, an affirmation of the value of the impending combination. Nevertheless, for the first nine months of 2007, Bruker BioSciences’ revenues grew 21% and its net income doubled.

The combined Bruker companies will report estimated revenues of more than $900 million in 2007 and, if growth trends continue, revenues will exceed $1 billion for 2008, propelling Bruker into the top echelon of industry participants. In addition to grouping the Bruker companies into one public entity, Bruker BioSciences has aggressively acquired smaller businesses over the years to enhance its capabilities and to allow it to participate in important growth sectors. Recent additions include spark-OES for metals analysis (see IBO 9/15/06), handheld X-ray fluorescence technology (see IBO 7/31/06) and dispersive Raman (see IBO 1/31/04). Acquisitions have been an important ingredient in Bruker’s recent success, but not nearly as important as its internal R&D efforts.

Bruker has been a wellspring of innovation since its inception, and it continued to innovate in 2007. The company brings more new products to market each year than many larger firms. At Pittcon 2007, it introduced the ALPHA FT-IR, the most compact FT-IR instrument on the market, but one with outstanding performance features. IBO recognized the ALPHA FT-IR with the Gold Award for Industrial Design (see IBO 8/15/07).

With the addition of Bruker BioSpin, Bruker Corporation, as it will now be known, will be able to offer the widest range of spectroscopy instrumentation of any firm, with exceptional capabilities in structural analysis (MS, X-ray and NMR), which is crucial in biological analysis, as well as advanced material development. Bruker is the market leader in NMR and MALDI-TOF MS with a growing market presence in various X-ray and optical spectroscopy segments. Bruker has also staked out significant roles in the security market and in process analytical technologies (PAT). None of this was an accident; rather, it was the result of carefully planned development programs under the guidance of an outstanding management team.

Bruker is a company to be recognized for its past achievement. It will also be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.

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