Agilent plans to remap healthcare division

June 7, 2000

Officials at Agilent Technologies, the now independent Massachusetts-based company spun off by computer giant Hewlett Packard, say they are disappointed by the company's latest performance in the healthcare arena.Agilent Technologies is made up of

Officials at Agilent Technologies, the now independent Massachusetts-based company spun off by computer giant Hewlett Packard, say they are disappointed by the company's latest performance in the healthcare arena.

Agilent Technologies is made up of electronics, communications, and healthcare businesses. The company's healthcare products include the Sonos 5500 cardiac ultrasound system, Sonos 4500 digital imaging system, and the ImagePoint multispecialty digital ultrasound system.

In the second quarter of 2000 (end-April 30), the electronics and communications businesses did well, but healthcare did not, said Ned Barnholt, Agilent's president and CEO.

Recently published reports speculating that Agilent will sell off its healthcare business if performance continues to decline are not true, said Heidi Wilson, Agilent spokesperson. Instead, Agilent has plans to restructure the division, she said.

Agilent reported that second quarter 2000 net revenue rose to $2.5 billion, up 24% over second quarter 1999. Net earnings for the quarter rose 6% to $166 million, compared with $157 million in the same quarter last year.

Orders in healthcare during second quarter 2000 were $349 million, down 9% compared with second quarter 1999. There are two factors that slowed the healthcare business, according to the firm: hospital purchases that were recorded in fiscal 1999 to avoid possible Y2K issues and increasing government pressure on hospitals from the balanced budget amendment to keep costs down.

Wilson said the healthcare division's restructuring plans include accelerating product promotions and slowing down noncritical hiring. The results of the changes will be evaluated by top company officials, she said.

"If, in a certain amount of time, a segment of business is not living up to expected results, of course the company will look at its options," Wilson said.

Wilson said there will be an announcement of new product availability at the June 11-14 American Society of Echocardiography meeting in Chicago. In addition, Agilent has signed an agreement to acquire Zymed, an Oxnard, CA-based provider of cardiac analysis solutions.