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Beckman Instruments Reports $37.6-Million Loss After Charge


FULLERTON — Beckman Instruments Inc. said it lost $37.6 million in 1993 after taking a $115-million charge against the cost of a two-year restructuring program that will lop about 800 jobs from its worldwide payroll.

Before the charge--the largest of two annual charges the company plans to take--Beckman earned $46.8 million from ongoing operations, up nearly 7% from $43.8 million in 1992.

The annual loss amounts to $1.35 per share, compared to a profit of $1.53 a share, or $43.8 million, in 1992. To fully account for the costs of the restructuring, which it announced in October, Beckman said it will take a further $20-million charge this year.

A spokesman for the medical instruments maker said Monday that about 350 of the jobs to be cut will come from the company's California operations and will result from a combination of an early-retirement plan, normal attrition and, if necessary, layoffs. The remaining jobs will be cut from payrolls in the company's divisions in Europe, which has been hard hit by a recession.

Specifics of the job cut plan have not been made public. Beckman has 6,600 employees, including 4,500 in the United State. Of those, 1,700 are in Orange County at the corporate headquarters and bio-technology instrumentation facility in Fullerton and a diagnostics instruments plant in Brea; and 1,110 are in Northern California, predominantly at Beckman's Palo Alto research and manufacturing plant for its centrifuge division.

Beckman officials said a number of other jobs, mostly in Europe, will be affected by the restructuring as positions are transferred among locations. "We expect that many of the people will not want to transfer," said spokesman Jay Steffenhagen. "Those jobs will be filled, but the people holding them will change."

The company's financial report held no surprises, said John Putnam, a medical technology analyst with the Alex. Brown & Sons investment research company. "They announced their reorganization in October, so the charge was anticipated. It is part of what the good companies are doing in the health care area right now. They are getting costs under control to reflect an evolving environment."

Louis T. Rosso, Beckman's chairman and chief executive, said Monday that the company expects its reorganization to "begin paying dividends with significant savings in 1994."

Beckman is shifting focus to its medical diagnostics and centrifuge devices operations. "We are putting our investment in our bio-technology businesses, because that is the fastest-growing part" of the market, Steffenhagen said.

Sales for the company's U.S. diagnostic systems unit grew 5%. Beckman officials have said that the restructuring is a response to numerous factors including the European recession and medical cost containment efforts overseas and in America.

Because the recession in Europe lowered the value of many currencies when converted to U.S. dollars, Beckman said its annual sales dropped 3.6% to $875.7 million from $908.8 million in 1992. Had currency values remained unchanged from 1992 levels, the company said, its sales would have increased by about 1%.

Beckman Reports Loss

Beckman Instruments Inc. reported a $67-million loss for the fourth quarter, giving the company a $37.6-million loss for 1993. The company attributed the shortfall to a one-time, $115-million restructuring charge. Figures are in millions of dollars except data per share:

4th qtr 4th qtr 12 months 12 months 1992 1993 1992 1993 Revenue $250.2 $236.6 $908.8 $875.7 Net income (loss) 12.4 (67.0) 43.8 (37.6) Per share (loss) 0.44 ($2.41) 1.53 (1.35)

Source: Beckman Instruments Inc.; Researched by JANICE L. JONES / Los Angeles Times

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