Applied Biosystems breaks the $2bn barrier

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cent Dna sequencing

Applied Biosystems (ABI) passed the $2bn (€1.46bn) revenue mark
during 2007; however profits took a hit due to the acquisition of
next generation DNA sequencing technology.

The company recorded revenues for the year of $2.093bn, up 9.5 per cent from $1.911bn the previous year, with fourth quarter revenues growing approximately 7 per cent to $557.3m compared with the same period last year. Fourth quarter pre-tax profits fell over 6 per cent to $95.6m from $102.1m during the same period last year. The main reason for this fall in pre-tax profits was increased R&D investment during the quarter with the company investing $53.5m (9.6 per cent of revenues) compared with $46.3m (8.9 per cent) for the same period last year. The company ascribes this 16 per cent increase in R&D to investments in the SOLiD next generation DNA sequencing system as well as various product lines the company acquired with its Ambion acquisition. Revenues for the quarter from Europe increased 14 per cent to $210.4m with Asia Pacific sales (excluding Japan) increasing 9 per cent to $40.8m. The company's strong growth during the 2007 fiscal year was driven mainly by increased sales of Real-Time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and applied genomics tools and mass spectrometry products​. However, pre-tax profits fell nearly 20 per cent to $237.1m for the year from $297.0m the year before. However, this fall can be readily explained by the acquisition of the SOLiD gene sequencing technology from Agencourt Personal Genomics​ which incurred costs of $114.3m. Cost of sales and R&D investment as a function of revenues remained relatively steady compared with the previous year, with sales costing $936.2m, 44 per cent of the revenues and R&D investment of $203.9m equating to 9.6 per cent of revenues. ABI will be hoping that its investment in the SOLiD DNA gene sequencing technology​ will boost sales in its second largest product group which made up 27 per cent of the company's total revenues. With $557.6m revenues the DNA sequencing group achieved only 3 per cent growth compared to last year's sales of $539.9m. "An important development [for the company] was the shipment of our first next-generation sequencing systems to early-access customers,"​ said Tony White, CEO of Applera Corporation that owns ABI. "Based on positive customer feedback and progress in our manufacturing process, we are accelerating plans to expand production and commence a full commercial release in October." ​ Indeed, GATC Biotech announced yesterday that it has acquired one of ABI's SOLiD gene sequencers through the company's early access program that it expects to install in arly autumn. This acquisition will enable GATC to become the first commercial sequencing service provider in the world to offer ultra high-throughput DNA analysis on the three leading next generation systems from ABI, Roche Diagnostics (the GS FLX) and Illumina (the Genome Analyser). The company's largest product group in 2007 remained the Real-Time PCR range, which had sales of $704.6m in 2007, up 17 per cent from the year before, making up 34 per cent of the company's income. Mass spectrometer sales accounted for $525.4m, or 25 per cent of total revenues. This was a growth of 13 per cent over sales of $465.3m the previous year. The company's core PCR and DNA synthesis products saw a fall of 4 per cent to $198.4m during the year, from last year's $190.5m continuing the gradual slide in sales of these products that has been ongoing over several years.

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