Invitrogen and ABI post strong results

By Dr Matt Wilkinson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Cent Polymerase chain reaction

Invitrogen’s plans to buy Applied Biosystems (ABI) are on track with US antitrust regulators approving the deal and both firms achieving strong revenue growth.

The combined life science company will generate annual revenues in the order of $3.5bn (€2.24bn) and will see Invitrogen adopt the Applied Biosystems name.

The merger proposal cleared the waiting period required by the US Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 earlier this week and the firms will begin a similar process with European regulators ‘soon’.

Invitrogen recorded revenues of $367.8m for the second quarter, around 60 per cent of those recorded by ABI, and up 14 per cent compared to the $321.7m recorded during the same period last year.

Operating income rose nearly 32 per cent to $102m with the cost of revenues falling as a percentage of revenues to 33.6 per cent ($123.8m) compared to 36 per cent ($116.6m) during the same period during the previous year.

Research and development increased in line with revenues, accounting for $32.3m or 8.7 per cent of revenues – a figure above the industry average.

Invitrogen’s Cell Systems segment recorded second quarter revenues of $115m 16 per cent up on the same period the prior year, with the company seeing accelerating sales to stem cell and specialty cell culture.

Revenues from its BioDiscovery segment grew 13.6 per cent to reach $253m, due to increased sales of drug discovery, molecular biology and cellular analysis products.

"We continue to see consistent, solid growth in our business, leading to yet another quarter of strong financial results,"​ said Greg Lucier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Invitrogen.

"Once the transaction with ABI is complete, we look forward to combining our strong portfolios, world-class systems and talented people to create a truly remarkable life sciences company."

ABI reported revenues of $609m for its fourth quarter, up 9 per cent compared to the $557m reported during the same period in 2007.

The firm recorded operating income of $95.9m a marginal increase compared to the $95.6m reported for the same period in the previous year. Costs mainly grew in-line with revenue except for employee-related charges and asset-impairments of $16.4m.

Research and development costs dropped slightly to $52.5m, accounting for 8.6 per cent of revenues compared to nearly 10 per cent during the same period last year.

"This was an eventful quarter for our company with the separation of Celera and the announced merger with Invitrogen,"​ said Tony White, CEO of ABI.

"However, these events should not overshadow the good performance turned in by our businesses, which generated broad-based revenue growth with very good earnings and cash flow as well."

ABI’s Real-Time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) / applied genomics product lines remained the company’s biggest earners, accounting for 36 per cent of revenues or $151.7m. This segment grew 15 per cent compared to the same period last year, accounting for an extra 2 per cent of the company’s revenues.

Sales of DNA sequencing products amounted to $152m, or 25 per cent of revenues, the same percentage as for the same period last year.

Sales of mass spectrometry equipment also accounted for $152m, or 25 per cent of the company’s revenues. However the group only achieved 4 per cent growth fuelling speculation about the future of this segment of the business after the completion of the merger.

Some sources have suggested the unit could be sold off within 18 months.

Core PCR and DNA synthesis sales accounted for 9 per cent of revenues or $53.5m, while other product lines accounted for the remaining 5 per cent.

"During the fourth quarter we continued to experience double-digit growth in our consumables business and in other sources of revenue,”​ said Mark Stevenson, president of ABI.

“We saw a resurgence of strength in our Real-Time PCR/Applied Genomics business, our largest product category; meaningful gains in DNA sequencing; and modest growth in mass spectrometry. Our applied markets businesses showed healthy gains in both DNA and mass spectrometry applications.”

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