May 15, 2009 / 12:27 AM / in 9 years

UPDATE 2-Agilent's Q2 matches Street, shares steady

* Q2 non-GAAP EPS 13 cents matches Street estimates

* Q2 revenue $1.09 bln vs Street view $1.07 bln

* Shares steady after-hours (Adds CEO, analyst comment)

By Clare Baldwin

SAN FRANCISCO, May 14 (Reuters) - Agilent Technologies Inc (A.N), a maker of electronics testing gear, matched Street estimates for second quarter results on Thursday as sales held up, and its shares held steady after-hours.

Chief Executive Bill Sullivan said he expects revenue to decline in the current quarter but that Agilent will continue to try and shed costs in the face of the economic crisis.

“A big snap-back recovery I believe at this time is unlikely,” Sullivan said, but added that he has seen signs of stabilization.

Overall, he expects Agilent revenue to fall about 25 percent for 2009, and earnings per share to be around 65 cents.

Analysts expect Agilent revenue for fiscal year 2009 to decrease 23 percent to $4.5 billion, and earnings per share to be 85 cents a share.

Agilent, which was spun off from Hewlett-Packard in 1999, has struggled in the downturn.

The company reported a net loss in the quarter ended April 30 of $101 million, or 29 cents a share, compared with a net profit of $173 million, or 47 cents a share a year ago.

Excluding certain items, Agilent posted a profit of $44 million, or 13 cents a share, matching Reuters Estimates.

Revenue fell 25 percent to $1.09 billion but exceeded analysts’ average estimate for $1.07 billion.

By segment, revenue for the bio-analytical measurement business was 6 percent below last year. Revenue for the electronic measurement business was down 33 percent and the semiconductor and board test business was down 63 percent.

The bio-analytical business was 46 percent of revenue in the second quarter and the electronic measurement and semiconductor and board test businesses, combined, were 54 percent of revenue in the second quarter.

Sullivan said the bio-analytical business would take longer to recover than the electronic measurement and semiconductor businesses because pharmaceutical, petrochemical and environmental customers continued to struggle.

Agilent is “stuck in a very tough market, kind of in the eye of the storm,” said Macquarie Research Equities analyst Jon Groberg.

“Really all they can do is adjust the cost structure and position themselves for when things do get better. The risk there is that when you adjust the cost structure, you cut too deep and you aren’t positioned as well as you should be for when things come back.”

The company in March said it would spend about $160 million to cut 2,700 jobs, or 14 percent of its workforce. The company said the bulk of the cuts would come from its electronic measurement business and should save the company $310 million a year.

The company has said it expects to spend a total of about $315 million, pre-tax, on restructuring in 2009.

Sullivan said he saw tentative signs the global electronics markets would hit bottom over the next few months and the bio-analytical market could begin to improve by the year’s end.

Agilent has nearly a billion in net cash and “continue(s) to look at acquisition opportunities.” (Reporting by Clare Baldwin; Editing by Leslie Gevirtz; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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