Millipore, which specialises in providing technologies, tools and services for the discovery, development and production of new therapeutic drugs, has reported first-quarter 2003 sales of $187 million (€173 million), up 13 per cent from the same period of 2002 and buoyed by strong sales of its purification systems to the pharmaceutical industry. However, the advance was just 4 per cent when currency factors were taken into account.
First-quarter earnings from continuing operations reached $21.3 million, up from $19.6 million a year earlier, and earnings per share were $0.44, ahead of consensus analyst estimates of $0.41.
Fran Lunger, Millipore's chief executive, said: "We exceeded our earnings guidance for the first quarter on modest revenue growth in local currency. By market, life sciences revenues were up 4 per cent in local currency, biotechnology revenues up 3 per cent, and our other bioscience revenues increased 4 per cent."
However, biotechnology growth was limited in the first quarter, due to customer delays of custom-engineered systems and associated consumables, continued Lunger.
He added that "the life science results reflect trends we saw in 2002, namely curbs on research funding and shifts in customer priorities. In our other bioscience business we saw strong sales of pharmaceutical consumables and lab water systems and consumables."
Europe was the strongest market for Millipore in the quarter, putting in 27 per cent growth (6 per cent in local currencies) to $74 million, just behind the USA at $78 million (up 3 per cent) and ahead of Asia Pacific, where revenues were flat at $35 million year-on-year.
Looking at the next five years, Millipore sees the growth in the market for biopharmaceuticals as one of its key revenue drivers. For example, it offers system and consumable products across the development process for monoclonal antibodies - from preclinical through pilot production, capital/expansion and full-scale manufacturing - which taken together account for a potential market of up to $30 million.
For the whole of 2003, Millipore is projecting growth of 9 to 12 per cent (6 to 8 per cent in local currencies), with a 12 to 14 per cent increase in sales to the biotechnology sector and life sciences up 5 to 7 per cent.