Agilent Technologies’ (A - Free Report) fiscal fourth-quarter 2019 earnings of 89 cents per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3 cents. In addition, the bottom line increased 17.1% sequentially and 9.9% year over year.
Fiscal fourth-quarter 2019 revenues of $1.37 billion increased 6% year over year (up 4% on a core basis). Also, the reported revenues — which came in above management’s guided range of $1.31-$1.33 — surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.33 billion.
The year-over-year revenue growth was driven by strength in pharma, diagnostics, environmental and forensics markets.
During the quarter, Agilent closed the acquisition of BioTek Instruments, Inc., a provider of life science instrumentation. This deal will expand the company’s presence in the life science research space. It will also strengthen Agilent’s offerings related to live cell analysis as these product lines aid in quantification of biomolecules, biomolecular interactions and cellular structure.
Agilent Technologies, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Revenues by Segment
Agilent has three reporting segments — Life Sciences & Applied Markets Group (LSAG), Agilent Cross Lab Group (ACG), and Diagnostics and Genomics Group (DGG).
In the reported quarter, LSAG was the largest contributor to total revenues. The segment accounted for $622 million or 46% of its total revenues, reflecting a 4% increase from the prior-year quarter. The demand in pharma, environmental and forensics markets was strong, offset by weakness in the food market.
Revenues from ACG came in at $476 million, accounting for 34% of total revenues. The reported figure reflects a 8% year-over-year increase, driven by growth across all regions and market segments.
Revenues from DGG came in at $269 million, accounting for the remaining 20% of total revenues. The segment’s revenues were up 5% from the year-ago quarter.
Gross margin in the quarter was 53.9%, down 80 basis points (bps) year over year. The decrease was due to an unfavorable product mix.
Operating expenses (research & development and selling, general & administrative) were $487 million, 5% higher than the year-ago quarter.
As a result, adjusted operating margin was 18.3%, down 60 bps from the year-ago quarter.
At the end of the fiscal fourth quarter, inventories totaled $679 million, up from $660 million in the prior quarter. Agilent’s long-term debt was $1.79 billion at the end of the quarter. Cash and cash equivalents were $1.38 billion compared with $1.8 billion in fiscal third-quarter 2019.
Agilent provided guidance for the fiscal first quarter and 2020.
For the fiscal first quarter, the company expects revenues between $1.340 billion and $1.355 billion, and earnings per share in the range of 80-81 cents. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for revenues and earnings per share is pegged at $1.37 billion and 84 cents, respectively.
For fiscal 2020, Agilent expects revenues in the range of $5.50-$5.55 billion, indicating core growth of 4-5%. Non-GAAP earnings are projected in the range of $3.38-$3.43 per share.
The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings is pegged at $3.43 per share and the same for revenues is $5.53 billion.
Zacks Rank and Stocks to Consider
Currently, Agilent has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector include Advantest Corp. (ATEYY - Free Report) , Itron, Inc. (ITRI - Free Report) and AMETEK, Inc. (AME - Free Report) . While Advantest sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Itron and AMETEK carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Long-term earnings growth for Advantest, Itron and AMETEK is currently projected at 15.5%, 25% and 10.9%, respectively.
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