Just over a year after acquiring the Filtration and Separations Group (FSG) business from Vivendi for $360 million (€307m), Pall Corp has reported a healthy hike in fiscal third-quarter sales and profits and once again raised its earnings forecast for 2003.
Sales rose 39.5 per cent to $421.5 million in the quarter, while earnings increased 70 per cent to $44.6 million, although the reported figure fell to $40.4 million once the cost of restructuring and incorporating FSG into Pall's business was taken into account.
For the nine months, turnover rose 32 per cent to reach $1.14 billion and earnings rose 44 per cent to $92.8 million on a pro forma basis; with the effect of the FSG purchase and other charges, net earnings fell to $48 million in the period.
The results exceeded analysts' estimates, according to Eric Krasnoff, Pall's chief executive, who said: "The first nine months of the fiscal year have seen substantial progress on our three main goals. Those are to improve profitability, to aggressively reduce debt and to successfully integrate FSG into Pall."
Debt at the firm was cut by $63 million, while operating margins improved from 16.9 to 19.8 per cent, he noted.
In the Life Sciences division, biopharmaceutical sales grew 16.5 per cent to $93 million compared to last year's third quarter, buoyed by strong biotechnology sales. Medical sales were flat, however, at $83 million.
Commenting on the quarter's earnings performance compared to last year, Krasnoff said this is attributable to organic growth, aided by continuing cost reduction programmes, FSG synergies and the effects of foreign exchange translations.
Looking ahead, Krasnoff said: "We anticipate earnings per share for the year in the range of $1.14 to $1.19. The midpoint of this range is an increase of 9 cents per share from the midpoint of our prior guidance range and, if achieved, represents a 42 per cent increase from the prior year's 82 cents per share."