* Shares touch all-time high
* 2nd qtr EPS of $1.32 beats analyst view by 2 cents
* Raises low end of full-year earnings forecast
* Says progressing on Life Tech purchase (Adds analyst comments, share price)
By Bill Berkrot
July 24 (Reuters) - Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc reported a second-quarter profit that slightly beat Wall Street expectations, and said it was making progress in planning for its $13.6 billion acquisition of genetic testing company Life Technologies Inc.
Excluding special items, Thermo Fisher earned $1.32 per share, topping analysts’ average expectations by 2 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Its shares rose as much as 3 percent, touching a new all-time high.
The company raised the low end of its full-year earnings forecast by 2 cents per share to account for the second-quarter performance, but slightly lowered its revenue projection due to unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates. The strength of the dollar against the yen in particular has hurt sales of companies doing business in Japan this year.
“Generally, it just looks like a nice thumbs-up on the quarter,” said Mizuho Securities analyst Peter Lawson, noting that some of Thermo’s smaller rivals had either missed earnings expectations or lowered full-year forecasts.
“Thermo kind of bucked the trend,” he said. “It was not a blowout quarter, but definitely better than rivals.”
The world’s largest maker of laboratory equipment and scientific instruments said net profit rose to $277.4 million, or 76 cents per share, in the quarter, from $233.8 million or 63 cents per share a year ago.
ISI Group analyst Ross Muken pointed to strong demand from pharmaceutical and biotech customers and stabilizing demand from academic and government clients despite U.S. weakness due to sequestration budget cuts for growth seen in the quarter.
Muken, who has a “buy” rating on Thermo shares, raised his price target on the stock to $101.50 from $96.50.
Thermo shares were up 2.4 percent at $91.71 on Wednesday morning after climbing as high as $92.29.
The company, which last month offered more than $2 billion of common stock and entered into a $7.5 billion credit agreement to help fund the Life Tech purchase, said the deal remained on track to close in early 2014.
Chief Executive Marc Casper said “integration planning teams are making great progress.”
Revenue rose 4 percent to $3.24 billion in the second quarter, roughly in line with Wall Street forecasts of $3.22 billion.
Sales of laboratory products and services rose 3 percent in the quarter to $1.58 billion, while sales from Thermo’s analytical technologies unit rose 4 percent to $1.01 billion.
The specialty diagnostics business rose 8 percent to $794 million.
Thermo Fisher said it now expects full-year earnings of $5.29 to $5.39 per share, excluding items. The company forecast revenue of $12.83 billion to $12.95 billion versus its prior view of $12.84 billion to $13.00 billion. (Reporting by Bill Berkrot in New York; editing by Joyjeet Das and Matthew Lewis)