Products from Agilent Technologies have a measurable effect on the scientific world. A leading maker of scientific testing equipment, Agilent supplies a slew of analytical and measurement instruments, including oscilloscopes, gas and liquid chromatographs, mass spectrometers, vacuum pumps, anatomic pathology workflows, and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging systems. Its operations include products used in electronic test and measurement, life sciences, chemical analysis, and diagnostics and genomics. Agilent's customers include such global giants as Cisco, Dow Chemical, GlaxoSmithKline, Intel, Merck, and Samsung. The company gets about two-thirds of sales from outside the US.
Agilent’s operating segments are determined by the markets it serves. Its largest segment, electronic measurement, accounts for about half of sales and includes instruments and systems used by developers of electronics equipment and microscopy products. The life sciences and chemical analysis segments serve those respective fields with products such as lab automation and robotic systems, x-ray diffraction systems, gas chromatography systems, and atomic absorption instruments. Diagnostics and genomics, Agilent’s newest and smallest business segment, provides reagents, instruments, and other products used at the molecular level of clinic and life sciences research.
The US remains Agilent's largest single geographic location, accounting for about a third of sales. China and Japan together account for about a quarter of sales. The rest of its international operations are located in Europe and Southeast Asia. Agilent has facilities in Australia, China, Denmark, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Poland, Singapore, the UK, and the US.
Sales and Marketing
The company sells most of its products directly, although it also relies on resellers, distributors, e-commerce, and other channels to a lesser degree.
Being a leader has not spared the company from tough times, but it has made Agilent flexible enough to expand its operations, even while recovering from the effects of economic and industry downturns on sales and profits. In fiscal 2012 (ended October) Agilent's sales were $6.9 billion, up 4% over 2011, primarily due to a nearly 45% increase in orders within the diagnostics and genomics segment (powered by the acquisition of Dako); orders across the other three segments were flat. The results in 2012 follow strong growth of more than 20% in fiscal 2011 as the company saw higher demand across all of its end-markets.
After falling into the red in 2009, Agilent has seen a growth trend in net income. In 2012 it rose 14% to $1.2 billion as the company reported a tax benefit, primarily for deferred US federal taxes, of $110 million.
Mergers & Acquisitions
In 2012 the company completed the largest deal in its history, the $2.1 billion purchase of Dako, a Denmark-based maker of cancer diagnostic tools. The acquisition is part of Agilent's strategy to build its presence in the life sciences sector with complementary research products while growing its base of recurring revenues. With the acquisition, Agilent formed a new business segment -- diagnostics and genomics -- which combines Dako with part of Agilent's life sciences business.
In another 2012 purchase, Agilent boosted its Asian semiconductor device modeling capabilities when it acquired Beijing-based modeling and validation software company Accelicon Technologies. Later that year Agilent bought the wireless test portfolio of Spanish wireless communications testing services provider AT4 wireless, whose other businesses -- testing and certification services and IT services -- are not part of the purchase.
During fiscal 2011, Agilent paid a total of $96 million for three separate businesses. UK-based Lab901 added electrophoresis equipment and consumables used in microbiology and a customer base that includes the research and development and quality control divisions of pharmaceutical makers, academic institutions, and government agencies. The acquisition of US-based Biocius Life Sciences added mass spectrometry drug-screening products sold to pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical customers under the RapidFire brand. The purchase of A2 Technologies expanded Agilent's spectroscopy business with Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectrometers used in the aerospace, art conservation, environmental, geosciences, and petrochemical industries.
Prior to Dako, the largest deal in Agilent’s history was the transformation 2010 acquisition of Varian, a maker of instruments for measuring biological and physical attributes, for about $1.5 billion in cash. The purchase diversified the company’s product portfolio into such fields as nuclear magnetic resonance and imaging and vacuum technology, which target the life sciences, environmental, and energy industries.
Along with its frequent acquisitions, Agilent has also made some divestitures in recent years. In 2010 it sold its Network Solutions business (including network protocol test and drive test products) to JDS Uniphase (JDSU) for $165 million in cash. Earlier in the year the company sold its Hycor Biomedical subsidiary. Hycor, which manufactures in vitro diagnostics products, was deemed noncore to Agilent's life sciences business. The division was acquired by Linden, a Chicago-based private equity health care firm.
In the meantime, Agilent has continued to invest about 10% of its revenue in research and development. The company spent nearly $670 million in 2012 on R&D (up 3%) to develop new products or make product improvements.