Beckman Coulter's


, a manufacturer of biomedical testing instruments and supplies, said its second-quarter earnings fell 19.2% from the year-ago period, led by soft sales.

The Fullerton, Calif.-based company earned $44.6 million, or 70 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $55.2 million, or 85 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding special items, the company earned 69 cents a share for the latest quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 67 cents in the most recent quarter.

Second-quarter revenue fell 0.4% from a year ago to $616.3 million primarily as a result of the company's previously announced shift in leasing policy toward more operating-type leases. Total revenue was below the company's own estimates principally due to lower than expected sales in the Far East region and in life sciences markets around the world. Analysts were expecting revenue of $632.32 million in the most recent quarter.

The company expects third-quarter earnings of 58 cents a share to 68 cents a share, excluding special items, on revenue of $615 million to $630 million. The company expects its earnings estimates for the full year to $2.75 a share to $2.95 a share, on revenue of $2.5 billion to $2.53 billion. Analysts expect third-quarter earnings of 73 cents a share on revenue of $634.88 million and full year earnings of $2.86 a share on revenue of $2.55 billion.

"Demand for the company's new UniCel DxC 600 and 800 autochemistry products continues to be robust in all geographies, " said the company. " We expect to realize a second straight year of record placements of autochemistry systems in 2006. And every one of our DxC's can be field-upgraded to a chemistry / immunoassay work cell at the customer's option. Immunoassay continues to be the strongest growth driver for the company. Our installed base is building at about the same pace as prior year and utilization is increasing. For all product areas, consumables sales were up 13%, a primary metric reflecting total company performance."

The company's shares were trading at $53.22, down $3.78, or 6.6% Wednesday.

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