April 23, 2019

Waters Corp. value down 15% as international sales slide

Photo/Grant Welker
Waters Corp.'s Milford headquarters

Shares of Milford lab equipment manufacturer Waters Corp. fell about 15% at the opening Tuesday of the New York Stock Exchange after the company said its profit and revenue each fell about 3% in the first quarter due to a weak international market.

The company said it had sales of $531 million over the first three months of 2019, a 3.27% decrease from last year's first quarter. Net income fell about 2.6% from $111.2 million to $109 million.

Shares fell more than $37 to about $203 per share as the news ended several months of the stock hitting record highs and hovering well above $230 for several months after reporting growth across all segments and nearly all markets in 2018.

In a statement, Chairman and CEO Chris O'Connell said the softer demand for the company's lab equipment was driven by greater-than-expected macro impacts in international markets like China and Europe. Also hurting the company was a slow release of budgets from some key drug and industrial customers.

Sales in Asia and the Americas were largely flat, while sales in Europe declined 12% compared to 2018's first quarter.

The pharmaceutical and industrial sectors continue to carry the company, but respective sales of $294.5 million and $155.2 million each fell 4%.

Diluted earnings per share increased slightly to $1.51 from $1.40 over the quarter.

Along with revenue declines came a 48.6% decrease in the company's cash position, ending the quarter with $1.2 billion after ending 2018 with $1.7 billion.

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