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Beckman Shares Plunge as Sales Slow

October 16, 2002|From Bloomberg News

Beckman Coulter Inc. shares fell as much as 25% after the company said third-quarter net income was down 2% to 3% on fewer sales to drug makers.

Shares of the Fullerton-based maker of laboratory equipment fell $8.71 to $28.42 on the New York Stock Exchange, after earlier dropping to $27.77. The plunge is the company's biggest since it was spun off from Smithkline Beecham in 1989.

The company had net income of 52 cents a share in the year- earlier quarter and had forecast profit of 62 cents for the quarter that ended last month. The announcement comes three months after company officials raised profit and sales estimates.

"Missing numbers is one thing, but not even explaining what's going on is another," said James McGlynn, manager of Summit Everest Fund, which owns 27,000 Beckman Coulter shares.

Third-quarter sales were $501 million, lower than the $520-million estimate Chief Financial Officer Amin Khalifa gave in July, the company said. Beckman Coulter sales fell as companies cut spending for research equipment.

The company said profit, excluding some costs, rose 8%. The company had a $4-million write-down from an investment in a biotechnology company in addition to costs to hedge against unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates.

Spokeswoman Jeanie Herbert didn't provide the amount of the costs, which she said were partially offset by "higher than anticipated tax deductions and credits in the quarter." The company's tax rate was reduced to 27% from 30% for the period.

Beckman Coulter will release complete results for the quarter Oct. 25, Herbert said.

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