Agilent Loss Widens on Charges, Segment Softness - TheStreet


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lost $369 million in its first quarter, as across-the-board revenue softness combined with charges, an accounting change and losses from discontinued operations to torpedo the bottom line.

The test-equipment maker's loss came out to 78 cents a share, widening from $315 million, or 68 cents a share, a year ago. Overall revenue dipped 1% to $1.41 billion.

Agilent said it all of its segments were "relatively soft" in the quarter, with particular weakness in the semiconductor equipment, test and measurement, and chemical analysis businesses. While the company hopes to return to a profit in the second half of the year and announced 4,000 more job cuts to that end, it said "visibility has never been worse, and we have no reason to believe that business will improve materially in the quarters immediately ahead."

The company offered several other measures of profitability, including a loss on an "operating earnings before restructuring basis" of 23 cents a share, and a loss from continuing operations of $112 million, or 24 cents, which includes a $12 million amortization charge and $42 million of restructuring expenses.

Analysts were forecasting a loss of 26 cents a share; the "operating loss before restructuring" figure would appear to compare favorably with that.

Orders totaled $1.36 billion in the quarter, down 7% from a year ago on a 22% plunge in its Americas segment. "Our first quarter results reflect a collective hesitation by many of our customers, who are deferring capital expenditures," it said. "Geopolitical uncertainty, on top of the general economic weakness we've experienced in the last year and a half, has resulted in a continuing pattern of weak orders."

The shares closed Thursday at $12.60.