Whatman feels effects of merger in first half

By Phil Taylor

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Whatman Mergers and acquisitions Marketing

Separations specialist Whatman is starting to reap the benefits of
its acquisition of Schleicher & Schuell, but had a difficult
first half to the year with the group's combined revenues down
marginally compared to first-half 2004.

Taken together, sales came in at £53m, up from Whatman's tally of £36m in the first half of 2004. But the combined amount represents a decline of 0.6 per cent, which Whatman attributed to 'the hiatus in leadership and the manufacturing issues that inevitably arise when a major restructuring is undertaken'.

Whatman is still on the lookout for a permanent CEO, after Tim Haines, who was due to take up the post on 1 September, pulled out of the running.

Operating profit rose by a third to just over £10m, helped by a rationalisation of the two businesses. Whatman announced that it would cut 13 per cent of its workforce in the wake of the S&S acquisition.

On an optimistic note, Whatman's chairman, Bob Thian, said: "synergies from the acquisition of S&S are coming through both well ahead of schedule and significantly higher than anticipated."

"The earnings accretion targets published at the time of the acquisition are expected to be exceeded,"​ he added.

The acquisition with S&S was aimed at boosting Whatman's market share in the lab and medical separations sector. In LabSciences, Whatman's market share grew from 11 to 16 per cent as a result of the merger, ranking it third behind Millipore (35 per cent) and Pall (30 per cent). It also stretched its lead over fourth place Sartorius, which holds 5 per cent of the market. In the MedTech field Whatman still ranks fifth but the addition of S&S expanded its share from 4 to 6 per cent.

For LabSciences, the group's like for like sales were down 0.6 per cent compared to the first half of 2004, due in part to de-stocking by some major customers, while MedTech sales rose 2 per cent. The Bioscience division saw revenues fall more than 3 per cent, mainly because of weaker demand for Whatman's FTA product range, used for the isolation of DNA.

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