Agilent sees profits rise in fourth quarter

Agilent Technologies has reported net earnings of $13m (£7.7m) in its fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $236m last year.

Agilent Technologies has reported net earnings of $13m (£7.7m) in its fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $236m last year.

Net revenue for the quarter, which ended 31 October, was $1.68bn (£989m), down from $1.74bn a year ago. Total costs and expenses, however, were reduced to $1.62bn from $2.12bn in 2002.

Agilent reported fourth-quarter operating net income of $71m (£42m) against a loss of $2m a year ago.

The fourth quarter was a strong finish to a tough year, said Ned Barnholt, Agilent chairman, president and chief executive officer.

 "Orders, revenues and earnings all came in above expectations. We met our commitment to achieve an operating break even cost structure of $1.45bn," he said.

For the financial year, Agilent lost $2.06bn, on revenue of $6.06bn, compared with a loss of $1.03bn, on revenue of $6.01bn last year.

The company forecasted revenue of approximately $1.55bn to $1.65bn in the first quarter of the new financial year.

Agilent experienced stronger sales in areas including semiconductor products, with orders up 36% from a year ago; automated test units, which had orders reaching the highest level in three years; and the life sciences and chemical analysis business, with orders at what the company called record levels.

Life sciences and chemical analysis orders were $333m, up 8% from one year ago. Revenue of $321m for the segment was also 8% higher than one year earlier. Profit of $53m for the segment was at record levels, and $10m above the same period last year.

Marc Ferranti writes for IDG News Service

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