Lab equipment manufacturers see record growth

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cent

With second quarter financial results being released thick and
fast, laboratory instrument manufacturers Bruker Biosciences and
Illumina have both seen very strong revenue growth.

In combination with the financial results highlighted by last week​ it looks like a good time to be a laboratory supplier. Bruker Biosciences​, the parent company of Bruker AXS​, Bruker Daltonics​ and Bruker Optics​, continued its strong fiscal year with a 21 per cent increase in second quarter revenues, taking earnings for the 3 months ended June 30th to $121.7m. Product revenues accounted for over 88 per cent of the company's income. "The combination of our innovative products and solutions and favourable market dynamics enabled us to deliver solid increases in revenue and net income,"​ said Frank Laukien, Bruker's CEO. Total cost of revenues increased by 26 per cent to $68.7m with R&D investments increasing by 13 per cent to nearly $14m, a figure equivalent to over 11 per cent of total revenues. This high level of investment in R&D has led to the company receiving many awards throughout the year, with Bruker AXS' Microstar Ultra high brightness x-ray source for structural biology recently winning an R&D 100 Award. The company also won bronze in the Pittcon Editor's Awards for the world's smallest laboratory FT-IR spectrometer, the Alpha​, with honourable mentions​ for the company's RAID-AFM (atomic force microscope) and Ultra Bright X-Ray source. Operating profits for the quarter increased 144 per cent to $7m, with pre-tax profits doubling to $5m. "New product introductions from both our core businesses and recent acquisitions have further strengthened our position as a leader in high-performance life-science and analytical systems, and have contributed to our very healthy backlog, which positions us well for the second half of 2007,"​ said Laukien. Illumina​ more than doubled its revenues for the quarter compared with a year ago, posting revenues of $84.5m, helped by the company's acquisition of Solexa in early this year in January. Operating profits grew 99 per cent to $12.3m for the quarter compared to the same period last year with pre-tax profits increasing 98 per cent to $14.6m. R&D investment increased 110 per cent for the same time period in the previous year to $18.2m accounting for 21.5 per cent of total revenues from $8.6m. "After a great start to the year in Q1 we have continued to build on our success with these results, we grew our revenue 17 per cent over the first quarter, we are now starting to realise the operating synergies between the two companies,"​ said Jay Flatley, CEO of Illumina. "Strong uptake of new products launched over the past six months continued to drive both growth and profitability, our HumanHap 550 continued to retain its place as our best selling product." ​ By mid-June the company had received 75 orders for its next generation DNA sequencing platform. "Last week we received an order for 20 genome analysers from a single customer; we're obviously very pleased with the rapid adoption of this platform, what's particularly interesting is that we're seeing strong demand across a broad market with over half the orders coming from outside the core genome centres,"​ said Flatley. He cited the reason for this strong demand was not only the hundred fold improvement in both cost and throughput, but also the breadth of applications the platform enabled.

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