NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Danaher today announced a 5 percent year-over-year increase in its fourth quarter revenues, beating the consensus Wall Street estimate.
For the three months ended Dec. 31, 2018, the Washington-based conglomerate posted $5.36 billion in revenues, up from $5.09 billion in Q4 2017. Wall Street had expected, on average, revenues of $5.32 billion.
Non-GAAP core revenues were up almost 6 percent year over year, Danaher said.
By segment Life Sciences recorded $1.79 billion in revenues, up 10 percent from $1.63 billion in the year-ago period, and Diagnostics grew 4 percent to $1.68 billion from $1.62 billion. Dental was essentially flat at $759 million in Q4 2018, compared to $758.8 million a year ago, and Environmental & Applied Solutions grew 5 percent to $1.13 billion from $1.08 billion.
On the company's conference call to discuss the financial results, Danaher President and CEO Thomas Joyce noted that currency effects tamped down revenues by 2 percent, but were offset by acquisitions, which grew revenues 2 percent.
Within Life Sciences, Joyce said, Beckman Coulter grew in the high single digits year over year, with more than 20 percent growth in the automation business driven by demand for new products including the Biomek i-Series of liquid handlers launched last year.
Meanwhile, Sciex, which houses Danaher's mass spectrometry business, grew in the high single digits, driven by demand in North America and China. Growth was broad-based, Joyce said, with strength seen in the clinical, food testing and forensic end markets.
Integrated DNA Technologies, which Danaher acquired in March was up in the mid-teens, he added.
In Diagnostics, Beckman Coulter's diagnostics business grew in the mid-single digits, led by China and improved results in North America, Joyce said. Immunoassay growth was especially strong during Q4, and in 2018, that business for the first time surpassed the firm's clinical chemistry business, he noted.
The automation systems business also grew in Q4, driven by "early success" in Europe with the company's DxA 5000 system, a clinical lab automation solution that reduces the number of required manual steps.
In hematology, Joyce said that Danaher is "encouraged by early customer feedback" on the new DXH 900 high-volume analyzer and the DXH 520 analyzer for low to mid-level settings.
Cepheid, meanwhile, grew in the double digits year over year, and in Q4 it placed its 20,000th instrument globally, Joyce said.
On the M&A front, Danaher is widely seen as a likely buyer this year, with the firm on pace to have $15 billion in cash for acquisitions. On the conference call, Joyce said that the company feels "terrific" about its ability to execute a deal.
"The balance sheet today is in as good a position as almost we have ever been," he said. "We're in great shape and are prepared to do things of consequence."
In Q4 2018, Danaher's R&D spending was up 7 percent to $319.6 million from $298.9 million in Q4 2017, while its SG&A costs rose 4 percent to $1.67 billion from $1.60 billion.
For the recently completed quarter, Danaher had net earnings of $746.8 million, or $1.05 per share, compared to a profit of $856.6 million, or $1.21 per share, a year ago. Non-GAAP EPS was $1.28, beating the consensus Wall Street estimate of $1.27.
For full-year 2018, Danaher posted $19.89 billion in revenues, up 9 percent from $18.33 billion in 2017. It beat the consensus Wall Street estimate of $19.84 billion in revenues.
Life Sciences revenues increased 13 percent to $6.47 billion in 2018 from $5.71 billion in 2017, and Diagnostics revenues grew 7 percent to $6.26 billion from $5.84 billion. Dental was up 1 percent to $2.84 billion from $2.81 billion, and Environmental & Applied Solutions increased 9 percent to $4.32 billion from $3.97 billion.
Danaher grew its R&D spending 9 percent year over year to $1.23 billion from $1.13 billion, while its SG&A costs rose 7 percent to $6.47 billion from $6.07 billion.
Danaher posted a profit of $2.65 billion, or $3.74 per share, compared to a profit of $2.49 billion, or $3.53 per share, a year ago. On a non-GAAP basis, EPS was $4.52, slightly above the analysts' average estimate of $4.51.
The company finished 2018 with $787.8 million in cash and cash equivalents.
Danaher said that for Q1 2019, EPS is expected to be in the range of $.78 to $.81. On an adjusted basis, it expects EPS of between $1.00 and $1.03. The consensus Wall Street estimate is $1.03 per share.
For full-year 2019, it anticipates EPS of $3.85 to $3.95. Adjusted EPS is expected to be in the range of $4.75 to $4.85. The consensus Wall Street estimate is $4.82 per share.
In early morning trading today, Danaher's shares were down a fraction of 1 percent to $105.66 on the Nasdaq.