Profit Tumbles at Agilent

Restructuring and earnings repatriation takes down results.
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Fourth-quarter profit slumped at Agilent (A) - Get Report as restructuring and repatriation charges offset modest top-line growth.

The maker of test and measurement equipment said Monday that earnings fell to $26 million, or 5 cents a share, from $74 million, or 15 cents a share a year, a year earlier.

Included in the recent quarter was a $48 million tax charge associated with repatriating $970 million of offshore earnings, as well as $119 million composed largely of restructuring costs associated with the company's announced sale of its semiconductor products business and a planned spinoff of its semiconductor test solutions business.

Excluding those costs, Agilent earned $193 million, or 38 cents a share, a penny above an average EPS estimate derived from a Thomson First Call survey.

Revenue grew 5% to $1.41 billion from $1.34 billion, but was well short of analysts' estimates of $1.85 billion.

Agilent said it remains comfortable with fiscal year 2006 guidance provided on Aug. 15, and expects first-quarter revenue of $1.28 billion to $1.35 billion and adjusted earnings of 25 cents to 30 cents a share. The first-quarter EPS estimate is in line with analysts' 28-cent-a-share expectations but below the consensus revenue projection of $1.51 billion.

Separately, the company's board authorized a share repurchase of up to approximately $2.7 billion in the form of a modified "Dutch Auction" tender offer to purchase up to 73 million shares at a price not below $32 and not greater than $37. The tender offer is expected to commence on Nov. 15, and to expire, unless extended, on Dec. 13.

As of Oct. 31, Agilent had about 500 million shares of common stock outstanding.

Shares of Agilent closed Monday down 3 cents to $32.90.