REFILE-UPDATE 2-Agilent to cut 2,700 jobs, warns of revenue drop

Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:13am EDT

Related Topics

 (Refiles to delete typo in second bullet point)
 * To cut head count by 2,700, or 14 percent
 * Eyes savings of $310 mln in total for '09
 * Suspends share buybacks until end of fiscal 2009
 * Sees revenue falling more than 50 pct in one segment
 * Shares rise 5 percent to $16.76
 (Adds CFO comments, updates share movement)
 By Sinead Carew
 NEW YORK, March 26 (Reuters) - Agilent Technologies Inc
(A.N) is cutting 2,700 jobs, or 14 percent of its workforce, and
suspending share buybacks due to a steep fall in revenue and "no
prospects for a meaningful recovery in the foreseeable future."
 Chief Financial Officer Adrian Dillon told Reuters in an
interview that while the maker of electronic testing equipment
and bio-analytical measurement equipment would stay profitable,
it is bracing for a multiyear slump.
 "We don't expect (demand) to come back any time soon, so
we've got to fundamentally change the cost structure," he said.
Referring to revenue levels, he added, "We will not see a 2008
level of activity at least for two to four years."
 But Agilent's shares rose more than 5 percent after the
company said that while the restructuring would cost $160
million, it would cut annual costs by $310 million.
 It expects the bulk of the cuts to come from its electronic
measurement business, and an additional $10 million in savings
to come from its semiconductor and board test segment.
 Agilent did not give a total revenue estimate but said it
expects to report a 12 percent operating margin on revenue of
$2.3 billion for its electronic measurement business, which
represented 56 percent of its 2008 revenue.
 This would represent a 30 percent fall from 2008 revenue for
that segment, and likely means the company will not meet average
analyst estimates for total revenue of $4.6 billion for the
fiscal year ending in October, Dillon said.
 Agilent also warned that revenue in its semiconductor and
board test segment, its smallest unit, would fall more than 50
percent from last year and 65 percent from its peak.
 Dillon did not give specific estimates for Agilent's
bio-analytical business, which has been its fastest-growing unit
and represented 38 percent of 2008 revenue. But he was
comfortable with analyst estimates for a decline this year in
the 5 to 10 percent range.
 The CFO also said Agilent "wouldn't be shy" if an
acquisition opportunity arose but it was not clear to him that
Agilent "needs to do acquisitions." The company has made about
$700 million in acquisitions in about four years.
 Agilent has roughly $750 million in cash. It had spent about
$125 million of its $1 billion share authorization for 2009
before suspending its buyback program.
 Agilent had a two-year buyback authorization of $2 billion,
with $1 billion expected to be carried out each year.
 Its shares were up 80 cents at $16.76 on New York Stock
Exchange on Thursday morning.
 (Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and
Matthew Lewis)


After wave of QE, onus shifts to leaders to boost economy

DAVOS, Switzerland - Central banks have done their best to rescue the world economy by printing money and politicians must now act fast to enact structural reforms and pro-investment policies to boost growth, central bankers said on Saturday.