February 13, 2008 / 9:38 PM / 12 years ago

UPDATE 3-Agilent reports lower 1st-quarter net profit

(Adds byline, CEO comments; updates share price)

By Gina Keating

LOS ANGELES, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Agilent Technologies Inc (A.N), a maker of electronics testing gear, posted a 14 percent lower quarterly net profit on Wednesday on higher costs but hit the high end of its previous forecast.

Agilent Chief Executive Bill Sullivan forecast some slowing, mainly in the U.S. markets, but said the company was “comfortable” with the range of analysts’ estimates for fiscal 2008 revenue and adjusted net income per share.

Sullivan said he was cautiously optimistic that Agilent would escape the effects of the U.S. economic downturn.

“Based on our analysis of the segments that we are focusing on, we have not seen a slowdown,” Sullivan told Reuters. “Our balanced portfolio, our ability to capture businesses and submarkets that are robust has resulted in a very solid first quarter.”

The company saw double-digit sales growth in its Bio-Analytical and Life Sciences in the quarter, while its Electronic Measurement segment rose 8 percent over last year.

Net income was $120 million, or 31 cents per share, for the three months ended Jan. 31, compared with $150 million, or 36 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Excluding stock-based compensation expenses and $10 million in other net adjustments, Agilent reported adjusted income of 42 cents per share, compared with 39 cents per share last year.

Agilent had forecast first-quarter adjusted income of 38 cents to 43 cents per share.

Net revenue rose 8.6 percent to $1.39 billion from $1.28 million a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, had expected revenue of $1.38 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

For the second quarter, revenues were expected to rise 6 percent to 10 percent, to a range of $1.40 billion to $1.45 billion.

Second-quarter adjusted net income was expected to grow 7 percent to 16 percent to a range of 46 cents to 50 cents per share.

Analysts expected second quarter adjusted net income of 47 cent per share, Reuters Estimates showed.

Wall Street expected fiscal year adjusted income of $1.97 per share and revenue of $5.84 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

Shares of Agilent dropped 18 cents in after-hours trade to $32.50, after closing up 2.6 percent at $32.68 on Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Gina Keating; Editing by Tim Dobbyn, Richard Chang and Gunna Dickson)

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