Lab chemical and life sciences company
) posted adjusted earnings (excluding items) of 96 cents per
share in the fourth quarter of 2012, above the year-ago earnings
of 91 cents. The results beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 95
cents. Currency exchange swings reduced adjusted earnings by 6
cents a share in the reported quarter,
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Profit, as reported, rose roughly 7% year over year to $116
million (or 96 cents per share) in the quarter from $108 million
(or 89 cents per share) a year ago. Acquisitions (including
BioReliance) and gains across overseas markets aided the results.
For full-year 2012, adjusted earnings (barring restructuring and
acquisition charges) were $3.85 per share, comfortably beating
the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.72. Reported earnings were
$3.77 per share, up 1% from $3.72 per share posted a year ago.
Revenues and Margins
Revenues rose 7% year over year to $655 million in the quarter,
yet fell behind the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $660 million.
Acquisitions added 6% to sales while foreign exchange translation
had a negative impact of 2%. Asia Pacific, Latin America and EMEA
(Europe, Middle East and Africa) recorded mid single-digit gains
while North American sales were flat in the quarter.
Adjusted operating margin (excluding restructuring costs) for the
fourth quarter was 25.2% compared with 26.2% recorded a year ago.
For the full year, sales rose 5% year over year to $2,623
million, essentially in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.
Research Chemicals revenues edged up 2% on an organic basis to
$431 million in the quarter. On a reported basis, sales from the
division inched up 1%. Global sales of research products through
the company's e-commerce channels rose 6% organically in the
The Fine Chemicals (SAFC) business sales rose 5% organically to
$224 million. On a reported basis, sales surged 17%. Booked
orders rose 2% year over year in the quarter. The division,
however, witnessed some pricing pressure (related to the new
Hitech facility in Taiwan) in the quarter.
Sigma-Aldrich ended 2012 with cash and cash equivalents of $724
million, a roughly 9% year over year increase. Long-term debt
remained flat year over year at $300 million. Debt to capital
ratio was 21% as of Dec 31, 2012, compared with 19% as of Dec 31,
2011. Operating cash flow for the year jumped nearly 15% year
over year to $567 million.
The company repurchased 0.4 million shares during the fourth
quarter for $25 million. It expects to continue to buyback shares
to offset dilution associated with stock-based compensation.
Sigma-Aldrich expects low-to-mid single digit organic sales gain
in 2013. It envisions adjusted earnings per share in the band of
$4.10 to $4.20 for the year. The current Zacks Consensus Estimate
of $4.18 is within this guidance range.
To better address the needs of its customers, the company, in Nov
2012, realigned its business into three market-focused units -
Research, Applied, and SAFC Commercial.
Sigma-Aldrich expects sales from its Research unit to increase in
the low single-digit clip organically in 2013. The Applied unit
is forecast to deliver mid single-digit sales gain. Revenues from
the SAFC business are expected to rise in the mid-to-high single
digits in the year.
Free cash flow forecast for the full year is more than of $430
million. Capital expenditures are expected to be roughly $130
million while operating cash flow has been projected to exceed
Sigma-Aldrich's BioReliance acquisition and expansion initiatives
in Asia Pacific and other high growth markets are expected to
continue to add to its growth. However, the company's research
business is still facing economic challenges due to uncertainties
in the U.S. and Europe.
Sigma-Aldrich currently maintains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Other companies in the specialty chemical space with favorable
Zacks Rank are
American Pacific Corporation
American Vanguard Corp.
). All of them hold a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).