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UPDATE 2-Thermo Fisher sees strong growth in China, India; raises FY view

Zeba Siddiqui
Wednesday, 24 Oct 2012 | 4:10 PM ET

* Q3 adj EPS $1.19 vs est $1.16

* Q3 rev $3.09 bln vs est $2.99 bln

* Shares up over 4 pct at $60.02

* Says Q3 was helped by strong sales growth in China

Oct 24 (Reuters) - Thermo Fisher Scientific raised its full-year forecast for the second time this year as the world's largest laboratory equipment maker benefited from its presence in Asia, even as the weak U.S. and European economies dragged on its competitors.

Thermo's shares rose as much as 7 percent to $60.52 in early trade on Wednesday as analysts praised the company's ability to outperform by managing strong organic growth.

``China came in at more than 20 percent growth again this quarter and we had excellent growth in South Korea and good growth in India as well,'' Chief Executive Marc Casper told analysts on a post-earnings call.

A lull in government-sponsored medical research has hurt life-sciences-tools companies, as the United States curbs spending to fix its budgetary deficit.

Thermo, however, derives about half of its revenue from outside the United States and has therefore been relatively less affected by domestic headwinds, Wells Fargo analyst Tim Evans said.

Apart from Asia, the Waltham, Massachusetts-based company is broadening its focus to include other emerging markets such as Brazil and Russia.

``We spent a lot more money on emerging markets in this quarter because we're confident in the momentum and we're setting ourselves up for a bright 2013 and 2014,'' CEO Casper said.

Thermo has the kind of product portfolio that helps it gain better market share in these regions, ISI Group analyst Ross Muken said.

In India, for example, the company has been expanding its presence for the last two years by acquiring local distributors to deepen its foothold, Muken said.

RIVALS UNDER PRESSURE

Thermo peers Sigma-Aldrich and Waters Corp both reported mixed results on Tuesday with profits in line, but revenues failing to keep up with analysts' estimates.

The companies reported challenging market conditions and Sigma-Aldrich warned that sales of its fine chemicals, which have been below estimates, would continue to fluctuate.

UBS analyst Daniel Arias said he was looking for organic growth of 2 percent for Thermo for the third quarter, but the company outperformed with 4 percent.

``There has been a lot of pressure on the companies that have reported so far, and so for Thermo Fisher to put up four percent organic is pretty positive,'' Arias said.

Thermo's July-September net profit rose to $290.4 million, or 79 cents per share, from $265.4 million, or 69 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding acquisition-related costs and some other one-time items, Thermo earned $1.19 per share in the third quarter. Analysts on average had expected $1.16 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $3.09 billion, edging past Wall Street estimates of $2.99 billion.

The specialty diagnostics unit, which has traditionally been Thermo's strongest segment, brought in sales of $707 million in the quarter, up 15 percent.

The laboratory products and services unit had sales of $1.51 billion, up 5 percent from the year ago quarter, while analytical technologies sales edged 1 percent higher to $1.01 billion.

Thermo raised its 2012 outlook for adjusted per-share earnings to between $4.81 and $4.88 from a range of $4.74 to $4.84.

It said it now expects revenue to be $12.32 billion to $12.40 billion, up from the previous forecast of $12.14 billion to $12.26 billion.

The company's shares, which have risen over 23 percent this year, were trading up 4 percent at $59.86 at midday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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