11/19/2003 - Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) reported orders of $1.73 billion and revenue of $1.68 billion for the fiscal fourth quarter ended Oct. 31, 2003. During the quarter, the company reported GAAP net earnings of $13 million, or $0.03 per diluted share. This compares to a GAAP loss of $236 million, or $0.51 per share, in last year's fourth quarter.
Excluding $58 million of net restructuring charges and intangibles amortization, Agilent reported operating net income of $71 million, or $0.15 per share, versus a loss on a comparable basis of $2 million, or $0.00 per share, one year ago.
"We had a very good finish to a very 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 breakeven cost structure of $1.45 billion and earned an attractive profit on the additional revenue we realized."(1)
"We also met our commitment to generate positive free cash flow(2)," said Barnholt. The company ended the quarter with about $1.6 billion in cash and equivalents, up $177 million from the prior quarter. Despite $82 million of cash restructuring costs, operations generated free cash flow of about $170 million. In the fourth quarter, inventories improved to below 100 days on hand for the first time in Agilent's history. Capital spending of $57 million was $21 million below the level of depreciation.
During the fourth quarter, Agilent saw evidence of stronger economic activity reflected in several of its markets. Semiconductor Products orders were up 36 percent from one year ago to the highest level since early 2001. Automated Test segment orders were higher for the third consecutive quarter, reaching the highest level in three years. Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis orders were at record levels, 8 percent ahead of one year earlier. Activity in the Test and Measurement segment was somewhat weaker than the prior year because of continued softness in wireline telecom markets. Overall, the company's book-to-bill ratio was 1.03 compared to 0.98 in the prior quarter and 0.86 one year ago.
Looking ahead, Barnholt said, "About 40 percent of Agilent's revenues today are tied to consumer electronics. As such, the first quarter of fiscal 2004 will be seasonally weaker. But, we believe Agilent now has the cost structure as well as the innovative new products to take full advantage of the recovery in our markets."
For the first quarter, the company anticipates revenues in the range of $1.55 billion to $1.65 billion. Earnings before restructuring and amortization charges are expected to be in a range of $0.05 to $0.15 per share.(3)
Fourth-quarter Test and Measurement orders were 4 percent below one year ago and up 14 percent from the seasonally weak third quarter. By market segment, communications test orders were about flat from last year with continued weakness in wireline test offsetting a modest rise in wireless test. General purpose test orders were off about 6 percent from one year ago because of relative weakness in services and support. Revenues of $631 million were 16 percent below last year; adjusting for last year's surge in shipments following the implementation of a new ERP system, revenues were off about 8 percent.
Aggressive restructuring continued to improve the operating performance of this segment. The fourth-quarter operating loss of $11 million was $96 million better than one year ago despite $116 million lower revenues. Compared to the third quarter, profits were improved by $58 million on only $18 million higher revenues.
The Automated Test segment had another strong performance in the fourth quarter, with orders of $260 million up 72 percent from last year to the highest levels since the fourth quarter of 2000. Sequentially, orders were up 4 percent from already strong third quarter levels, with both semiconductor test and manufacturing test participating in the increase for the third consecutive quarter. Revenues of $260 million were 18 percent above last year and up 26 percent sequentially. The segment showed excellent operating performance during the quarter, reaching nearly 20 percent return on invested capital (ROIC).(5) Operating profits of $45 million, or 17 percent of revenues, compared to profits of $9 million one year ago and $6 million in the prior quarter.
Semiconductor Products saw an unexpected fourth-quarter surge in demand, with orders reaching $493 million, 36 percent above last year to the highest levels since early 2001. Sequentially, orders were up 38 percent. The strength was almost across the board, with personal systems orders up 35 percent from last year and networking systems up 37 percent. Fourth-quarter revenues of $463 million were down 2 percent from last year because of a sharp drop in the hardcopy ASIC business. Excluding hardcopy ASICs, revenues were up 13 percent from one year ago. Semiconductor Products' book-to-bill ratio of 1.06 compares to 0.77 last year and 0.94 in the third quarter.
Segment operating performance continued to reflect the benefits of restructuring actions, better yields on new products, and higher volumes, achieving a 20 percent ROIC.(5) Operating profits in the quarter reached $40 million, essentially double last year on $8 million lower volume. Sequentially, profits were up $48 million on $83 million higher volume.
Life Sciences and Chemical Analysis orders and revenues were at record levels in the fourth quarter, showing the second consecutive quarterly improvement after several quarters of relatively flat activity. Fourth-quarter orders of $333 million were up 8 percent from one year ago and up 14 percent sequentially. Revenues of $321 million were also 8 percent ahead of one year ago and 6 percent ahead of the third quarter. Segment profits of $53 million were also at record levels, $10 million above last year on $23 million higher volume and $12 million above the third quarter on $18 million higher volume. During the quarter, the segment operated at a 42 percent ROIC.(5)
About Agilent Technologies
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is a global technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company's 29,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenue of $6 billion in fiscal year 2003. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at www.agilent.com.
More financial information about this quarter's earnings is available at www.investor.agilent.com.
Agilent management will host a live webcast of its quarterly conference call with the investment community in listen-only mode today at 1:30 p.m. (PT). Listeners may log on at www.investor.agilent.com and select "Conference Calls" in the "Recent News and Events" box. The webcast will remain on the company site for 90 days.
A telephone replay of the conference call will be available starting at 4:30 p.m. (PT) today through Nov. 24 by dialing + 719 457 0820 and entering pass code 618758.
This news release contains forward-looking statements (including, without limitation, information regarding seasonality of the first quarter, the ability of Agilent to take full advantage of recovery in its markets with its cost structure and new products, and projected revenue and earnings) that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause results of Agilent to differ materially from management's current expectations.
In addition, other risks that Agilent faces in running its operations include: the ability to execute successfully through business cycles while it continues to implement workforce and other cost reductions; the ability to meet and achieve the benefits of its cost reduction goals and otherwise successfully adapt its cost structures to continuing changes in business conditions; ongoing competitive, pricing and gross margin pressures; the risk that our cost-cutting initiatives will impair our ability to develop products and remain competitive and to operate effectively; the risk that we may not be able to use a portion of deferred tax assets before their expiration dates; the impact of geopolitical uncertainties on our markets and our ability to conduct business; the successful implementation of Agilent's ERP and other information systems and the ability to realize the benefits from these and other IT systems investments; the ability to improve asset performance to adapt to the current economic slowdown and other changes in demand; the ability to successfully introduce new products at the right time, price and mix, and other risks detailed in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Oct. 31, 2002, and its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended July 31, 2003. The company assumes no obligation to update the information in this press release.
(1) Agilent's operating breakeven cost structure of $1.45 billion can be reconciled to GAAP breakeven cost structure as follows: Total GAAP costs and expenses: $1.6 billion less restructuring of $.06 billion, less cost of sales decrement of $.08 billion (35% x $225 million), less IT projects of $.02 billion.
(2) Free cash flow is defined as Net Cash provided by operating activities less Investments in property, plant and equipment.
(3) Agilent's expected range of EPS for Q104 excludes restructuring, which cannot be estimated, and amortization of intangibles, which is expected to be $9 million per quarter. Non-GAAP tax rate is assumed to be 31 percent.
(4) Before restructuring charges in all periods
(5) Refer to financial results tables for ROIC.
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