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X-ray tech maker Bruker predicts sales growth

The Associated Press

BILLERICA, Mass. (AP) -- Profit dropped in Bruker Corp.'s fourth quarter, but the scientific equipment maker's shares rose Tuesday after it predicted continued revenue growth.

The company, based north of Boston in Billerica, Mass., creates scientific equipment such as technology used for operating MRI and X-ray scans. It has been in growth mode, creating new products and buying up competitors, including a company that works on 3-D X-rays.

Net income was $12.8 million, down sharply from $39.1 million the year before. That amounted to 8 cents per share for common shareholders, down from 23 cents.

The decline was largely because Bruker had to write down the value of some of its divisions and reassess the value of property and equipment of companies it has bought. It also had to spend to restructure some units.

After stripping out those one-time hits, earnings were 28 cents per share, down slightly from 30 cents a year ago. But that beat the 24 cents that analysts had expected.

Shares gained $1.56, or 9.3 percent, to $18.26 in afternoon trading. The stock set a new 52-week high of $18.65 earlier.

Revenue for the quarter grew about 9 percent, to $517.3 million from $475.1 million a year ago. That beat the $483 million that analysts polled by FactSet had expected.

CEO Frank Laukien cited a host of challenges facing the company, including a slowdown in Europe, softness in U.S. academic markets and weakening of other segments. He credited the higher revenue to new products and strong relationships with customers.

Chief Financial Officer Charles Wagner hinted that the company would trim costs but didn't give details. He said he expected revenue to grow 4 to 5 percent in 2013, slower than the 8.5 percent growth last year.

That equates to a range of $1.86 billion to $1.88 billion. Analysts predict $1.85 billion.

Wagner also said earnings per share, after stripping out one-time charges, would grow 6 to 10 percent. That suggests profit of 88 cents to 91 cents per share; analysts predicted 91 cents.