Fisher Scientific posts increase in 3Q profit

By Wai Lang Chu

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Thermo fisher scientific

Fisher Scientific International reported it's third quarter
performance for 2005, which revealed profit had more than doubled
as a result of improved sales and fewer acquisition related
charges.

Fisher's performance was compared to the 2004 period, which was particularly depressing having had the burden of costs associated with Fisher's purchase of lab equipment maker Apogent to deal with.

The acquisition of Apogent follows deals struck with Oxoid, Dharmacon and Perbio, shifting its business model from one of being mainly a distributor of other companies' products to one that makes 40 per cent of its own range.

Adding in Apogent has raised that proportion to around 60 per cent, the company said recently.

The laboratory tool supplier posted a third-quarter net profit of $93.5 million (€79.6 million), or 73 cents per share, compared with a net profit of $36.1 million, or 34 cents per share a year ago.

Quarterly revenues rose 13 per cent to $1.41 billion from $1.25 billion a year ago, helped by higher sales in the company's core scientific-research market.

Fisher​ added yet another acquisition recently by purchasing Duke Scientific, a laboratory equipment supplier used for quality control and analysis, early last month.

The acquisition is sure to further enhance Fisher's portfolio of higher-margin proprietary products.

Duke Scientific's microsphere technology produces nanometer-particle microscopic beads used in laboratories for quality control and analysis, instrument calibration, as well as diagnostic-test kits.

"Fisher reported strong results for the quarter with sales, earnings and cash flow reaching new highs,"​ said Paul Montrone, chairman and chief executive officer.

"We continue to execute our strategic initiatives and are optimistic about the prospect of our performance heading into 2006,"​ he added.

The improved performance of this quarter has allowed Fisher to state year-end earnings of $3.52 to $3.57 per share, up from previous guidance for profit of $3.47 to $3.52 per share.

Excluding items, Fisher expects to earn $3.79 to $3.84 per share. Sales should grow about 21 per cent, Fisher said.

For 2006, the company forecast profit of at least $4.05 per share, or $4.35 per share excluding items, as sales grow between 8 per cent and 9 per cent. Analysts expect earnings of $4.09 per share with sales of $6.14 billion.

Third-quarter sales in the laboratory-workstations segment increased to $53.3 million, a 19.8 per cent increase from $44.5 million in the prior year.

The segment reported an operating loss of $0.3 million in the quarter, compared with operating income of $0.8 million in the same period last year.

Fisher's €3bn merger with Apogent Technologies makes the company one of the top companies in the market for research tools.

With the merger, Fisher adds Apogent's microscope slides, glass tubes and vials, test kits, diagnostic dyes, beakers, bottles, environmental and safety containers, hot plates, shakers and stirrers to its product portfolio.

Fisher markets a range of reagents and consumables and laboratory workstations.

The deal closely follows Fisher's takeover of microbiology group Oxoid and nucleic acid specialist Dharmacon this year for $410 million, and Perbio in 2003 for more than $700 million.

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