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, Merck, and Samsung. The company, which gets most of sales outside the US, spun off its electronic measurement business in late 2014.
Agilent's operating segments, as reported for 2014, were determined by the markets it serves. Its largest segment, electronic measurement, accounts for about 42% of sales and includes instruments and systems used by developers of electronics equipment and microscopy products. This division was spun off in late 2014 as a separate company named Keysight Technologies.
The life sciences and diagnostics segment (about 34% of sales) provides lab automation and robotic systems, x-ray diffraction systems, liquid chromatography systems, and liquid chromatography mass spectrometry systems, as well as reagents, instruments, and other products used at the molecular level of clinic and life sciences research.
The chemical analysis segment (about a quarter of sales) includes gas chromatography (GC) systems, gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) systems, inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) instruments, atomic absorption (AA) instruments, and molecular spectroscopy instruments, among others.
The company changed its segment structure beginning in 2015. It combined the life sciences business with the chemical analysis business to form life science and applied markets segment. The company's diagnostics and genomics units were combined to become the diagnostics and genomics segments. A new crosslab segment was formed by the joining of the services and consumables businesses.
The US remains Agilent's largest single geographic location, accounting for 30% 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 manufacturing plants 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. It also has a pretty diverse customer base -- 46,000 customers for its life sciences and diagnostics business, 37,000 customers for its chemical analysis business, and 14,000 customers for electronic measurement products. Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology is its biggest group of end users at 25% or revenue followed by energy and chemicals at 23%. Agilent increased the amount it spends on advertising to $57 million in 2014 compared to $44 million in 2013.
Modest increases in revenue across all its segments raised Agilent's overall revenue 3% in 2014 to just under $7 billion. Stronger sale of its high end gas chromatography and atomic absorption instruments boosted the chemical analysis segment. Net income dropped 30% to $504 million because of higher operating costs and a bigger income tax bill.
Along those same lines, cash flow from operating activities also decreased to $711 million in 2014 from $1.15 billion in 2013 on high account receivables and bigger inventories.
Along with its frequent acquisitions, Agilent also remains nimble through divestitures. In late 2014 it spun off its electronic measurement business as Keysight Technologies -- in a move that reduced its exposure to the cyclical electronic measurement industry.
In the meantime, Agilent has continued to invest about 10% of its revenue in research and development. The company spent $720 million in 2014 on R&D to develop new products or make product improvements. That included new products in its core gas chromatograph/mass spectrometer and liquid chromatograph/mass spectrometer platforms. Those and other new products offer more features at lower costs, the company reports.
Mergers and Acquisitions
As it spent time and effort on its split, Agilent was relatively quiet in acquisitions in 2014. It did, however, add electrothermal analysis technology to the lineup with the purchase of HeatWave software from California-based Gradient Design Automation. (Electrothermal analysis technology allows designers to identify and correct thermal problems during IC development.) Looking to grow its footprint in the Mexican analytical market, in 2013 it bought assets from Agilent distributor ABC Instrumentation Analitica (ABCIA).