Celera Genomics narrows loss, from $101 million to $28 million

Fourth-quarter revenue increased by $700,000

July 26, 2002|By Julie Bell | Julie Bell,SUN STAFF

Celera Genomics Group said yesterday that its fiscal fourth-quarter loss declined compared with last year's fourth quarter, when the company took a large charge related to one of its business units.

The Rockville drug-discovery company, best known for sequencing the human genome, reported a loss of $28.8 million, or 42 cents a share.

That compares with a loss of $101.7 million, or $1.66 a share, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2001. The year-ago period included a pretax special charge of $69.1 million for writing off intangible assets related to its Paracel Inc. business, which produces gene-sorting hardware and software.

Revenue for the quarter that ended June 30 was $28.1 million, up from $27.4 million in last year's fiscal fourth quarter.

Results for the most recent fiscal quarter included a special charge of $2.8 million related to Celera's announced restructuring and a $6 million write-down of investments.

The company announced early last month that it was cutting 132 jobs, 16 percent of its work force, as it shifted its focus from providing online information for drug researchers to becoming a drug-discovery company. Celera has about 700 employees in Rockville and South San Francisco, Calif.

Despite the cutbacks, the company said yesterday that it increased the number of employees devoted to therapeutic programs during fiscal 2002 from 40 to 327. Its new senior vice president of research and development, former Hoffmann-La Roche executive Robert F.G. Booth, begins work Aug. 5. He will be overseeing a research and development staff of about 300.

Excluding the special charges, Celera's net loss was $23.1 million, or 33 cents a share, compared with a loss of $34.5 million, or 56 cents per share, in the fiscal 2001 quarter.

Analysts had expected a loss of 53 cents a share, according to the average estimate of eight analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call.

Shares of Celera fell 25 cents yesterday to close at $9.90.

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