PerkinElmer hopes to perk up those looking to cure a disease or clean the environment. The company makes instruments and research products used in settings for diagnostics, research, industrial, and similar markets. Its human health business, PerkinElmer's largest, provides tools and applications for the earlier and more accurate detection of diseases as well as new therapies. Environmental health products and services offer analytical tools for detecting impurities in food and other products, as well as environmental contaminants. PerkinElmer operates in more than 150 countries, but the US represents 40% of the company's sales; China is its next-largest market at 9%.
PerkinElmer's human health products and services make up more than 55% of sales, but products for environmental health are the single largest contributor, bringing in nearly 40% of revenue. Its human health business caters mainly to diagnostics and research. Environmental health offerings detect impurities and harmful substances in settings such as water, toys, medicine, and other substances, goods, and consumer products. They are also used in industrial settings such as semiconductor, construction, and office equipment quality assurance, as well as laboratory productivity.
PerkinElmer's revenues have see-sawed over the past ten years, but with a general upward trend. Sales for 2011 started the next upward slope, rising 13% to $1.9 billion, nearly level with the high in 2008. Net income fell off precipitously due in part to the previous year's $320 million windfall from divested operations. Selling, general, and administrative expenses, however, also took a bite, outpacing revenue growth by rising nearly 30% over 2010. Also, customers bought more of the company's lower margin products in 2011. All told, factors combined to drive profit down to its lowest by far in the past decade (besides the loss in 2002), coming in at less than $8 million.
A big part of PerkinElmer's strategy is acquisitions. It spent about $980 million to buy eight businesses in 2011 alone. The largest outlay, nearly $650 million, went toward the purchase of Caliper Life Sciences. With that buy, PerkinElmer expanded into the realm of molecular imaging and genomic detection, gaining DNA sequencing equipment, reagents and microfluids for gene and protein detection, preclinical imaging instruments, and other medical and scientific products.
In 2010 PerkinElmer purchased a 50% stake in a joint venture in inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) held by MDS Inc.'s analytical technologies business, which was acquired by Danaher. The ICP-MS technology opens the door to detection of individual chemical elements, simultaneously in a sample. Its applications are broad, ranging from environmental to nutraceutical, biomonitoring, semiconductor, and geochemical research.
The company's customers include academic and research organizations, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, doctors, government agencies, laboratories, private health care organizations, and public health authorities. The volume of business done with these customers is subject to not only economic conditions, but in the case of government funding, to the political process, which can be fluid and unpredictable. The health care industry, particularly the genetic screening market, is highly regulated. – less