The figure eclipses last year's figure of $1.8bn and the company's fourth quarter results also make for impressive reading with all four of its business units reporting double-digit growth in the quarter. Sigma-Aldrich, a provider of chemicals, genomic research, and biotech products, reported Q4 2007 sales of $532.1m, reaching a new quarterly high by beating the Q2 2007 record of $507.5m. Q4 sales increased 14.6 per cent, the highest quarterly gain in 2007. Organic sales growth of 5.5 per cent was enhanced by a currency benefit of 6.8 per cent and a 2.3 per cent contribution from an acquisition. In February 2007, Sigma-Aldrich purchased Epichem Group, a British chemical maker, for $60m. The acquisition was seen as an attempt by Sigma Aldrich to expand its fine chemical supply branch SAFC and its ability to supply high-purity chemicals to the electronics and photovoltaic markets. "Annual sales exceeded $2bn for the first time in our company's history. And our efforts to expand margins combined with lower interest costs enabled us to grow our EPS more rapidly than sales, despite a higher effective tax rate," said president and CEO Jai Nagarkatti. "Key initiatives supporting our customer centric focus enabled us to deliver sales exceeding $500m for the third successive quarter," he added. Sigma's Research Specialties unit (selling organic compounds, biochemicals, analytical reagents and chromatography consumables, amongst other items) was a star performer, with sales rising 15.5 per cent year-on-year to $199.4m. Research Essentials' sales - which include mainstay biochemicals, buffers, cell culture materials and other lab consumables - grew 11.8 per cent to $98.4m. Sales at the Research Biotech division - which serves researchers in genomics, functional genomics, cell biology and proteomics - also did well, increasing 11.3 per cent to $78.6m, while sales at fine chemicals unit SAFC unit rose 16.8 per cent to $155.7m. Nagarkatti revealed his expectations for 2008 with an emphasis on integrating capabilities in its Research Biotech and SAFC business units. He commented that the newly formed partnership with Sangamo Biosciences to research and develop zinc finger protein technology was soon to reach fruition as 2008 would see a pipeline of orders for future delivery in Research Biotech. Sigma Aldrich's acquisitions of Epichem and Molecular Medicine BioServices, both acquired during the first half of 2007, added $52m in annualised revenue growth from acquisitions in their technology platforms and businesses. Nagarkatti concluded, "We expect our positive momentum to carry into and throughout 2008, enabling us to meet our 7 per cent organic sales growth goal, generate further margin expansion and deliver strong EPS growth." "I'm confident about our ability to deliver both our targeted sales growth and our EPS forecast of $2.52 to $2.62 for the year."