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 chromatographs, mass spectrometers, vacuum pumps, and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging systems. Its operations include products used in electronic test and measurement, life sciences, and chemical analysis. Its Agilent Research Laboratories unit develops technologies used to create new products. Agilent's customers include such global giants as Cisco, Dow Chemical, GlaxoSmithKline, Intel, Merck, and Samsung. The company gets about 70% of sales from outside the US.
The US remains Agilent's largest single geographic location, accounting for 30% of sales. China makes up 16% of sales, while the company gets slightly more than 10% of revenues from its Japanese operations. The rest of its international operations are located in Europe and Southeast Asia. Agilent has a presence in more than 100 countries and sells most of its products directly, though it also relies on sales through resellers, distributors, e-commerce, and other channels to a lesser degree.
Being a leader has not spared the company from tough times, but it has made Agilent flexible enough to expand its operations, even while recovering from the effects of economic and industry downturns on sales and profits. In fiscal 2011 Agilent's sales were $6.6 billion, up 22% over 2010, primarily due to an 18% increase in orders and higher demand across all of its end-markets. (Only a small amount of the sales and orders related to the Varian acquisition and divested businesses are included in Agilent's results for the year.) The company remained profitable, reporting a 48% increase in net income for the year.
In electronic measurement, Agilent's largest segment by revenues, sales rose 19% in fiscal 2011 on strong sales in wireless manufacturing and digital test products offset by a decline in network monitoring orders related to the divested network solutions business. In its chemical analysis segment, revenues were up 27% on growth in core end markets, including the energy, environmental, chemical, and food sectors. In its life sciences segment, which the company has bolstered with acquisitions in recent years, sales increased 21% on demand from the pharmaceutical, biotech, petrochemical, and food safety markets.
Mergers & Acquisitions
In 2012 the company completed the largest deal in its history, the $2.2 billion purchase of Dako, a Denmark-based maker of cancer diagnostic tools. The acquisition is part of Agilent's strategy to build its presence in the life sciences sector with complementary research products while growing its base of recurring revenues. Dako's antibodies, reagents, scientific instruments, and software are primarily sold to pathology laboratories in more than 100 countries; it also collaborates with pharmaceutical companies to develop pharmacodiagnostics, used to determine which patients are most likely to benefit from specific targeted therapies. With the acquisition, Agilent formed a new business segment -- the Diagnostics and Genomics Group -- which will combine Dako with Agilent's Genomic Solutions Division.
In another 2012 purchase, Agilent boosted its Asian semiconductor device modeling capabilities when it acquired Beijing-based modeling and validation software company Accelicon Technologies. Later that year Agilent bought the wireless test portfolio of Spanish wireless communications testing services provider AT4 wireless, whose other businesses -- testing and certification services and IT services -- are not part of the purchase.
During fiscal 2011, Agilent paid a total of $96 million for three separate businesses. UK-based Lab901 added electrophoresis equipment and consumables used in microbiology and a customer base that includes the research and development and quality control divisions of pharmaceutical makers, academic institutions, and government agencies. The acquisition of US-based Biocius Life Sciences added mass spectrometry drug-screening products sold to pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical customers under the RapidFire brand. The purchase of A2 Technologies expanded Agilent's spectroscopy business with Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectrometers used in the aerospace, art conservation, environmental, geosciences, and petrochemical industries.
As the year wound down, Agilent acquisitions amped up. It continued to invigorate its life sciences group with the December 2011 (fiscal 2012) acquisitions of Swedish DNA sequence-selective sample preparation company Halo Genomics, Wisconsin-based laboratory testing systems provider BioSystem Development, and Italian vacuum pump manufacturer, P.V.R.
Spying lucrative opportunities in the life science industry, Agilent in 2010 bought Varian, a maker of instruments for measuring biological and physical attributes, for about $1.5 billion in cash. The transformational deal -- the largest in Agilent's history at the time -- diversified Agilent's product portfolio into such fields as nuclear magnetic resonance and imaging and vacuum technology, which target the life sciences, environmental, and energy industries. In order to satisfy antitrust regulators, Agilent sold Varian's micro gas chromatography business to INFICON. In 2010 Bruker bought three of Varian's instrument businesses -- inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, laboratory gas chromatography, and gas chromatography/ triple-quadruple mass spectrometry.
The company also sold its Network Solutions business (including network protocol test and drive test products) in 2010 to JDS Uniphase (JDSU) for $165 million in cash. JDSU provides communications test and measurement and optical products and systems to telecommunications service providers and network OEMs. Earlier in the year the company sold its Hycor Biomedical subsidiary. Hycor, which manufactures in vitro diagnostics products, was deemed noncore to Agilent's life sciences business. The division was acquired by Linden, a Chicago-based private equity health care firm.
In the meantime, Agilent has continued to invest in research and development -- albeit a smaller amount than in previous years. The company spent more than $640 million in 2011 on R&D to develop new products or make product improvements. It is focusing on areas such as compound semiconductor devices, optical switching, high-throughput measurements, and photonics, among others.
That Agilent is a leader in the test and measurement equipment industry should come as no surprise -- it is the original business started by technology pioneers William Hewlett and David Packard. Hewlett-Packard spun off the business in 1999 so that it could focus on its computer products operations. – less