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H1N1 adjuvants help SAFC in Q4; Sigma sales down in 2009

By Gareth Macdonald, 17-Feb-2010

Related topics: Excipients, raw materials and intermediates, Ingredients

Revenues fell 3 per cent in 2009 at SAFC but pharmaceutical sector demand for vaccine manufacturing products helped firm finish year with six months of growth.

SAFC, Sigma-Aldrich’s fine chemicals arm, posted fourth quarter revenues of $171m (€124m), up 18 per cent on the comparable year-earlier quarter, and said that orders for the quarter were 16 per cent higher than the final three months in 2008.

The firm said that the Q4 gains, which continued the growth it achieved in Q3, had been driven by strong demand for adjuvants for H1N1 vaccines and manufacturing medias from pharmaceutical customers.

Sigma CFO Rakesh Sachdev also said that SAFC had been helped by an upswing in the number of drug companies seeking early-stage development projects towards the end of the year.

Speaking at Sigma’s results presentation Sachdev predicted this trend will, explaining that pharma sector demand for such projects is steadily increasing with SAFC’s industrial cell culture business emerging as an area of particularly rapid growth.

Sigma-Aldrich revenues down

However, across Sigma as a whole the picture was less positive. Total revenues for the twelve months ended December 31, 2009 slipped around 2.4 per cent to $2.15bn.

Operating income for the year was also down, dropping a more modest 0.8 per cent to $504m on lower contributions from its research essentials, chemicals and specialties units and only modest gains for its biotech business.

Despite this, Sigma CEO Jai Nagarkatti was upbeat about the firm’s prospects in the coming year.

We expect some improvement in the markets we serve in 2010 with a contribution from increased pharma spending and a modest benefit from the stimulus funds provided to the academic sector.”

Nagarkatti went on to say that Sigma will continue efforts to drive growth revenue through “new technologies, e-commerce and international market opportunities.”