Pharma sales fuel Waters resurgence

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags High performance liquid chromatography

Waters posted an 11 per cent yearly sales increase on the back of
increasing demand from the pharmaceutical industry, generic houses
and outsourcing laboratories.

Waters Corporation announced that sales for the company had risen by 11 per cent to $1.28bn (€1bn) in 2006, compared to $1.16bn in 2005. Gross profits for the company increased by nearly 10 per cent to $0.75bn.

Commenting on the fourth quarter, Douglas Berthiaume, Waters CEO, said: "Improved pharmaceutical demand, continued growth in our overseas' markets and strong sales growth by our TA Instruments Division all contributed nicely to the quarter's results."

" In addition, we continued to benefit from rapid uptake of new instrument systems and recently introduced mass spectrometry technologies."

Asia was pinpointed as Waters' largest growth geography with strong results also obtained from North America, Western Europe and Japan. He commented that: "service revenues in Asia are expanding nicely, along with increasing instrument sales in that area."

He also noted that: "larger pharmaceutical accounts are outsourcing more of their research and development and we are, as a result, capturing more business from these smaller firms."

Berthiaume said that the company's HPLC (high performance liquid chromatography), UPLC (ultra performance liquid chromatography), MS (mass spectrometric) and TA (thermal analysis) businesses had all achieved double-digit or near double-digit growth.

The company estimates that the liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry and thermal analysis sectors that they operate in account for approximately $5bn of the overall analytical instrument market, which is valued at over $20bn.

Sales costs, $0.54bn, continued to take approximately 41 per cent of total revenues with research and development costs increasing nearly 15 percent to $77m, accounting for 6 per cent of the total sales revenue.

After the company experienced a difficult year in 2005 due to lower and erratic sales to the pharmaceutical industry, Berthiame said that 2006 showed that the worst of this was behind them and that he was even more confident for 2007.

"Certainly, some of our large pharma accounts are still struggling and restructuring. In 2007 we expect to see improving demand from these customers."

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