The Top 30 Instrument Companies of 2008

In calendar year 2008, Thermo Fisher Scientific retained its position as the number one provider of analytical and life science instruments and aftermarket products, according to IBO’s annual calculation of the top 30 companies. The top 30 companies generated an estimated $26.6 billion in sales of analytical and life science instruments and aftermarket products last year to account for approximately 69.8% of the total instrument market. Despite Thermo’s consistent revenue growth, the merger last year of Applied Biosystems and Invitrogen to form Life Technologies (see IBO 11/30/08) could challenge Thermo for the top spot in 2009. Because the merger took place in November 2008, only a small portion of Life Technologies’ total revenues are counted as 2008 revenues. Thus, Applied Biosystems and Invitrogen continue to appear on the list as separate entities.

In spite of a difficult economic environment, total revenues of the top 30 companies grew 8.8% in 2008 due to healthy sales growth, acquisitions and positive currency translations, primarily for Japanese companies. Using the dollar as the base currency, exchange rates for the euro and the yen appreciated an average of approximately 7% and 13% in 2008, respectively, affecting the conversion of sales in those currencies.

In most cases, only a portion of the top 30 companies’ total revenues are classified as analytical and life science instruments and related aftermarket sales. For each company, only sales of instruments and aftermarket products that fall into one of nine instrument categories, as defined by IBO’s annual forecast issue (see IBO 1/15/09), are counted. These nine instrument categories are: atomic spectroscopy; general analytical techniques; laboratory automation; life science techniques; mass spectrometry; materials characterization; molecular spectroscopy; separation techniques; and surface science.

Sales of the following are excluding from IBO’s calculations: laboratory products, defined as products that do not sense a sample characteristic, and related aftermarket items; process analytical instrumentation, defined as products physically integrated into a production line, and related aftermarket items; and products used exclusively in diagnostic applications. IBO’s ranking are based on each company’s calendar-year revenue as calculated in dollars for initial systems, and related aftermarket products and service.

There were few changes in the ranking of the top 30 companies in 2008, compared to 2007’s ranking. In fact, among the top 10 companies, only Bruker and GE changed rankings, switching positions as a result of GE’s 2008 acquisitions of Whatman (see IBO 2/15/08) and MicroCal (see IBO 9/30/08). Another company that moved up in the ranking in 2008 due in part to acquisitions was QIAGEN, which acquired two analytical instrument–related companies last year (see IBO 11/15/08). QIAGEN moved up two positions to number 18.

The major change to the 2008 ranking is the addition of Illumina to the top 30. Strong sales of DNA sequencers and microarrays in 2008 propelled the company onto the list at the number 20 position. Illumina also had the fastest instrument sales growth among the top 30 in 2008, as its sales increased 56.6%.

Following Illumina, the companies with the fastest growing analytical and life science instrument revenues in 2008 among the top 30 were MDS, Roche, GE and Becton Dickinson. Revenues of analytical and life science instruments and aftermarket products for MDS Analytical Technologies, which includes Sciex and Molecular Devices, increased 24.1% in 2008, raising the company’s ranking by one spot to number 26. Sales for MDS Analytical Technologies benefited from strong revenues early in the year and the inclusion of a full year of sales from Molecular Devices (see IBO 1/31/07). As with Illumina, DNA sequencer sales drove growth for Roche, whose Applied Science division also provides microarrays and PCR products for research. Roche’s instrument and related product revenues climbed 21.1% in 2008, according to IBO’s estimates, helped by currency effects. GE’s instrument revenues, which includes products in the company’s Healthcare and Infrastructure divisions, rose 16.5% last year due to acquisitions, as mentioned previously, and steady sales growth. The fifth fastest growing company last year was Becton Dickinson. Becton Dickinson’s analytical and life science instrument and aftermarket revenues, which consist of products offered by its BD Bioscience division rose 16.2% last year, driven by sales of flow cytometry products and life science consumables.

Among the top 30 companies of 2008, only two companies experienced declining sales. Affymetrix sales fell 13.5% last year due to competitive pressures and declining growth in the microarray market for gene expression applications. Consequently, Affymetrix declined four positions from 2007 to number 30. Instrument revenues for UK-based Spectris’s dipped 0.6% in 2008 due to adverse currency effects.

The slowest growing companies among 2008’s top 30 were Nikon, Applied Biosystems and JEOL. Nikon’s instrument business, which consists of optical and confocal microscopy products, decreased 1.1% due to slower demand from semiconductor and industrial markets. Consequently, Nikon declined one spot from 2007’s list to number 25. Although Applied Biosystems’ analytical and life science instrument and related aftermarket sales fell 1.4% in calendar year 2008, the company maintained its second-place ranking. Slowing MS and DNA sequencer sales had the largest impact on Applied Biosystems’ revenue growth last year. Sales growth for JEOL’s instrument business also slowed last year, decreasing 1.9%, according to IBO estimates, due to slower domestic and semiconductor market sales. As a result, JEOL declined five spots from 2007 to number 19.

In total, there were 18 changes in the 2008 ranking, consisting mostly of a change in position either up or down of one spot. Some of these changes were due to revised estimates of companies’ instrument sales. For example, a revised estimate of Danaher’s instrument business boosted that company’s ranking five spots from number 19 in 2007 to number 14 on 2008’s list.

North American companies accounted for 71% of the top 30’s revenues last year. European and Asian-Pacific companies accounted for 15% and 14%, respectively.

The Top 30 Analytical and Life Science

Instrument Companies of 2008

Rank Company CY Rev. ($B)

1 Thermo Fisher Scientific 2.86

2 Applied Biosystems 2.21

3 Agilent Technologies 2.19

4 Waters 1.58

5 PerkinElmer 1.23

6 Shimadzu 1.18

7 GE 1.10

8 Bruker 1.04

9 Invitrogen 0.99

10 Becton Dickinson 0.97

11 Varian 0.87

12 Sigma-Aldrich 0.84

13 Beckman Coulter 0.74

14 Danaher 0.74

15 Hitachi High-Technologies 0.66

16 Merck KGaA 0.65

17 Mettler-Toledo 0.64

18 QIAGEN 0.63

19 JEOL 0.58

20 Illumina 0.57

21 Bio-Rad Laboratories 0.56

22 Roche 0.55

23 Olympus 0.52

24 Carl Zeiss 0.47

25 Nikon 0.46

26 MDS 0.44

27 Dionex 0.39

28 Spectris 0.34

29 Tecan 0.34

30 Affymetrix 0.32

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