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 gas and liquid chromatographs, mass spectrometers, vacuum pumps, anatomic pathology workflows, and genetic and diagnostic instruments and tools. Its operations include products used in life sciences, chemical analysis, energy, and food, forensics, and environment. Agilent's customers include Bristol-Myers Squib Co., Dow Chemical, Merck, and the University of California, Davis. The company, which gets most of sales outside the US, spun off its electronic measurement business in late 2014.
Agilent operates through three business segments: life sciences and applied markets, diagnostics and genomics, and Agilent CrossLab.
The life sciences and applied markets business brings in about half of Agilent's revenue by providing instruments and software that customers use to identify, quantify, and analyze the physical and biological properties of substances and products.
Agilent CrossLab accounts for a third of the company's revenue with its portfolio of consumables and services.
Diagnostics and genomics generates the rest of Agilent's revenue from reagents, instruments, microarrays, and synthetic RNA.
The US remains Agilent's largest single geographic market, accounting for 30% of sales. China, the only other country Agilent reports separately, accounts for a fifth of sales. Other international operations provide the remainder of revenue. 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 diverse customer base -- some 23,000 customers for life sciences and applied markets business, about 39,000 Agilent CrossLab customers, and about 14,000 diagnostics and genomics customers. The company spends about $30 million a year on advertising.
Agilent reported increases of 4% in revenue to $4.2 billion and 15% in net income to $462 million for 2016 (ended October) compared to 2015. The company also posted a surge in cash generated by operations year-to-year. Agilent said foreign currency exchange rates reduced its overall earnings by two percentage points in 2016 from 2015.
Sales in the life sciences and applied markets business ticked up 1% in 2016. Strong growth in China helped offset softness in the Americas and Europe. Agilent's liquid chromatography products generated revenue growth in the pharmaceutical market. While mass spectrometry products sales rose in China, they were hit by continued declines in the chemical and energy markets and in the diagnostic and clinical markets in the Americas. Revenue from diagnostics and genomics increased 7% in 2016, boosted by growth in genomics, strength in the pathology business, and continued demand in nucleic acid products. The diagnostics and clinical research markets continued to be strong, driven by an aging population and lifestyle. The CrossLab business generated 7% more revenue in 2016 from increases in enterprise service contracts, liquid chromatography small molecule columns, remarketed instruments, and bio-columns.
Agilent combined higher revenue with lower costs to score a profit of $462 million in 2016. The absence in 2016 of expenses for discontinued operations, which were $37 million in 2016, also helped push profit higher.
Cash provided by operations closed 2016 at $793 million, compared to $491 for the year before. Starting with more net income, Agilent also had fewer expenses for obsolete and excess inventory, accounts payable and an increase from other assets and liabilities.
Agilent has identified product and geographic markets primed for growth while it relies on the slower-growing chemical and energy and environment and forensics markets, where it's the market leader, for sustaining revenue. The company sees growth opportunities in food, pharmaceuticals, academic and government, and clinical diagnostics, areas where its market share lags the competition.
In products, Agilent allocates about 60% of its research and development funds to analytical instrumentation and informatics. The company's efforts have resulted in the Agilent Intuvo 9000, the Agilent 8900 Triple-Quad ICP-MS, and the Agilent Infinity II LC System. About a quarter of R&D goes to genomics and diagnostics with more than 10% for the CrossLab business. In 2016 the company was adding manufacturing capacity with a new manufacturing facility in Colorado, a $120 million investment over three years. It doubles the capacity for making nucleic acid products.
For geographic growth, Agilent looks to emerging markets, including China. The company's grew 30% in 2016 from 2015, a increase of $190 million. It seeks to extend its reach in other countries such as India. Emerging markets delivered about $1.3 billion in revenue (about a third of the total) in 2016.
The company has maintained control of costs, which, it says, should be aided by consolidating its company-wide financial reporting on one platform.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Agilent searches for potential acquisitions that bring complementary technologies. In the company agreed to acquire Multiplicom N.V., which develops, manufactures and commercializes molecular-diagnostics kits, which enable personalized medicine, for about €68 million. Multiplicom strengthens Agilent's genomics portfolio with sequencing workflow capabilities.
An $80 million investment made in 2016 bought Agilent a 48% stake in Lasergen Inc., an emerging biotechnology company that develops sequencing technology. The companies will collaborate on building a next-generation sequencing workflow for clinical applications, based on Lasergen’s Lightning Terminators™ sequencing chemistry.
In another 2016 acquisition, Agilent bought most of the assets of iLab Solutions, a provider of cloud-based services for core laboratory management, for $26 million. iLab's offerings help book time in shared facilities, to bill and invoice for projects, to manage studies, to generate reports and business intelligence, and to schedule instrument reservations across multiple projects.
In 2015, Agilent bought Seahorse Bioscience, a provider of instruments and assay kits for measuring cell metabolism and bioenergetics, for $235 million. Seahorse's technology enables researchers to better understand cell health, function and signaling, and the impact of specific drugs.