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Waters' CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

In short, we have offered industry-leading products and enjoy superior access to faster growing market segments, positions our organizations have worked high to achieve over a multiyear period.

I think it's also important to note that 2011 was a year of investment for Waters. During the year, we continue to bring new systems to market across all our major product lines and expanded field personnel to support rapidly expanding customer bases in these developing regions. We're confident that we have an adequate foundation to grow top and bottom line results in 2012, while maintaining our reputation for industry-leading customer service and support.

If you'll look at the fourth quarter, our sales grew organically 8%, and our adjusted earnings per share were up 13%. And all these results were a bit ahead of our expectations and represent the impact of continued strong business momentum.

For the Waters division, we saw strongest growth in our pharmaceutical and industrial chemical end markets. The pharmaceutical growth was particularly strong in Western Europe and in the U.S., indicative of a continuation of an instrument upgrade cycle that I cited earlier this year.

The combination of government and university shipments held up reasonably well during the quarter most notably for the SYNAPT G2 system shipments that were delivered to academic institutions throughout the quarter. Going forward, as a the result of continuing austerity measures, we expect less robust global sales to government agencies in Europe, Japan and the U.S. That's a segment that has recently accounted for about 5% of our worldwide sales.

A tough base of comparison limited the growth rate of our food analysis business in the quarter. You may recall, we benefited from food safety-related business in late 2010 especially from sales resulting from dairy product testing in China. As a result of these strong results in the prior year quarter, our Chemical analysis business, which includes food and environmental testing, grew more slowly in this quarter.

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