Weak Dollar Boosts Q2 Lab Equipment Sales Index Growth

Second quarter revenues for IBO’s Lab Equipment/Consumables Sales Index grew 10.0% to $804 million, and operating profits jumped 18.0% to $222 million, leading operating margins to improve 190 basis points to 27.6% of sales. At publication time, 11 of the 12 Index firms had reported results, with estimates made only for Diploma. Biohit Oyj’s second quarter sales grew 3.9% to €7.9 million ($10.7 million = €0.74 = $1) from €7.6 million ($9.5 million = €0.80 = $1), while its operating loss widened to €0.9 million ($1.2 million) from €0.3 million ($0.4 million). Liquid Handling sales improved 5.6% to €7.6 million ($10.3 million) and operating profits ended at an approximate breakeven point, while Diagnostics sales declined 25.0% to €0.3 million ($0.4 million) and recorded an operating loss of €0.9 million ($1.2 million). Revenue growth was negatively impacted by the slow development of the company’s distribution network in China, as well as by exchange rate fluctuations. The company anticipates full-year revenues and profits to be lower than the previous year. Kewaunee Scientific reported a 7.7% increase in second quarter revenues to $20.8 million. Demand for laboratory products, particularly in the educational research market and for larger laboratory projects, helped domestic revenues gain 8.0% to account for 87% of total sales. International sales improved 5.7% to make up 13% of sales. During the quarter, the company’s order backlog increased 49.9% to a record $54.7 million. Operating profit jumped 127.1% to $1.1 million, and operating margins almost doubled to 5.36% of sales as a result of higher profit margins and increased manufacturing efficiencies. Revenue for Millipore’s Bioscience division jumped 46.3% to $156.4 million to account for 41% of total sales. Organic revenue grew 5% driven by sales of laboratory water products, while acquisitions and favorable currency transactions contributed 37% and 4% to sales growth, respectively. Sales of biomarkers and immunoassay kits also contributed to sales growth, but were offset by declining sales of preparation products. Adjusted operating profit for the Bioscience division improved 46.4% to $21.6 million, while operating margins remained steady at 13.8% of sales. Difficulties in executing marketing synergies following the acquisition of Serologicals (see IBO 4/30/06) led to lower than expected revenue. As a result, the company has lowered its 2007 full-year revenue forecast to 7%–8% from 10%–12%. New Brunswick Scientific’s second quarter revenues grew 13.1% to $21.0 million due to increased shipments of US-manufactured products. The weak US dollar compared to the euro favorably impacted currency transactions, adding 3.6% to revenue growth. International sales climbed 21.3%, while domestic sales improved 1.9%. Orders increased 31.9% and the company’s backlog amounted to $18 million entering the third quarter. Operating profit decreased 6.8% to $1.5 million, and gross margins declined 440 basis points to 36.8% of sales primarily due to limited manufacturing activities during the first quarter following the implementation of a new computer system. Pall’s BioPharmaceuticals segment reported fiscal fourth quarter sales of $115.9 million, an increase of 10.7%, or 7.4% on a currency-neutral basis (see page 12). Revenue growth was fueled by strong consumables sales in Europe and Asia, improved system sales in the Western Hemisphere and increased demand for laboratory products across all geographic regions. Total Life Science revenues, which include the Medical markets, grew 8.5% and 5.1% in the Western Hemisphere and Europe to account for 43% and 44% of sales, respectively, while sales to Asia declined 3.0% to make up 13% of sales. Full-year BioPharmaceuticals revenues climbed 14.9%, or 10.5% on a currency-neutral basis, to $404.8 million. On a pro forma basis, revenue for Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Laboratory Products and Services grew 6.1% to $1,433.7 million in the second quarter to account for 60% of total revenues. Organic sales improved 4.1%, while favorable currency transactions contributed 1.3%. Revenue growth in the segment’s research and biopharmaceutical markets were particularly strong. Demand for clinical diagnostic products remained strong. Adjusted operating income increased 17.9% to $198.9 million, and operating margin improved 140 basis points to 13.9% of sales. VWR International’s second quarter revenues improved 5.1% to $856.2 million, including 1.0% organic growth and 4.1% growth from favorable currency transactions and acquisitions. North American Lab sales grew 0.4%, or 0.1% on a constant-currency basis, to make up 59% of revenues. Despite an increase in prices, sales were hampered by slower demand for production supplies following the closure of facilities. European Lab revenue improved 14.1%, or 2.7% organically, to account for 37% of sales. Revenue growth was primarily attributed to the acquisition of KMF (see IBO 3/31/07), while organic sales benefited from product demand and price increases. Science Education revenue remained unchanged at $37.1 million to make up 4% of sales. Adjusted operating profit declined 8.3% to $41.0 million, while gross margins improved 10 basis points to 27.0% of sales. Operating income for the European Lab segment grew 30.6% to $18.8 million, while North American Lab and Science Education profits declined 31.3%, excluding acquisition costs, and 15.4% to $18.7 million and $3.3 million, respectively. First-half sales for Whatman’s LabSciences segment slipped 8.9%, or 1.8% in constant currency, to £32.9 million ($65.2 million = £0.51 = $1) and BioScience revenue dropped 17.2%, or 17.8% in constant currency, to £12.5 million ($24.8 million) to account for 61.3% and 23.3% of sales, respectively. Operating profits for LabSciences and BioScience declined 56.3% to £4.5 million ($8.9 million) and fell 78.3% to £0.5 million ($1.0 million), respectively. BioScience was negatively impacted by the inability to fulfill orders as a result of supply and manufacturing issues (see IBO 9/30/07). LabSciences reported a 3% climb in microbiology sales, offset by declining sales of chromatography and membrane products. For the company, sales to Europe and North America declined 21.5% and 17.4% to account for 44% and 39% of sales, respectively, while sales to the rest of the world improved 45.2%. Order intake rose 2%, and the company has secured new sales for neonatal testing products and its FTA technology. However, given the poor results for the first-half of the year, the company now anticipates 2007 revenues to be flat compared to its earlier forecast of 6%–8% growth.

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