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Sigma-Alrich Profit Declines, But In Line With Street - Update

Specialty chemicals maker Sigma-Aldrich Corp. (SIAL), said Tuesday its first-quarter profit dropped from last year as lower operating margin and increased tax rate offset growth in sales. Nevertheless, earnings for the quarter were in line with analysts' estimates, while sales topped expectations. Looking ahead, the company reaffirmed its outlook for the full year 2012.

Sigma-Aldrich Corp. is a life science and technology company that makes chemicals, biochemicals, and equipment. The company's sales for the quarter grew 5 percent from last year, and on an organic basis was up 3 percent.

Sales at its Research business grew organically by 4 percent, driven by strong growth in the Asia Pacific and Latin American regions. SAFC segment grew 1 percent organically.

Sigma-Aldrich said results were impacted as operating margin declined to 25.9 percent from 26.4 percent last year, due mainly on higher amortization of intangible assets. Also, tax rate was higher at 31.6 percent compared to 27.9 percent last year, when results benefited from the resolution and related release of certain contingencies.

St. Louis, Missouri-based Sigma-Aldrich reported first-quarter net income of $117 million or $0.96 per share, compared to $119 million or $0.97 per share last year.

Excluding items, earnings for the quarter were $121 million or $0.99 per share, compared to $116 million or $0.94 per share in the prior year.

On average, 14 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.99 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Net sales for the quarter were $665 million, compared to $632 million last year. Analysts expected sales of $658.48 million for the quarter. Sigma-Aldrich continues to expect full year 2012 adjusted earnings of $3.90 to $4.05 per share. Analysts currently expect earnings of $4.00 per share for the year.

The company continues to expect organic sales to grow in the mid single digit range for 2012, while the recent acquisitions of BioReliance and Research Organics are expected to add 6 percent to its topline growth in 2012.

SIAL is trading at $70.33, down $0.16 or 0.23%, on a volume of about 0.9 million shares on the Nasdaq.

by RTT Staff Writer

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