Varian's Health Care unit booms in Q4

A strong performance by the Health Care Systems business of Varian Associates helped buoy the Palo Alto, CA, company's financial results for the fourth quarter (end-September). Varian reported that its Health Care business turned in a fourth-quarter

A strong performance by the Health Care Systems business of Varian Associates helped buoy the Palo Alto, CA, company's financial results for the fourth quarter (end-September). Varian reported that its Health Care business turned in a fourth-quarter surge of sales that helped offset weakness experienced earlier this year.

Varian chairman and chief executive Tracy O'Rourke said that the Health Care business turned in the sharpest improvement among Varian's three main businesses, which include instruments and semiconductor equipment. Fourth-quarter sales for the unit were $158 million, rising 40% over the third quarter of 1997. O'Rourke attributed the improvement to acceptance of new cancer-care products from its oncology systems operation, as well as international sales.

For the entire company in the fourth quarter, Varian registered revenues of $405.8 million, down 2% compared with $413.4 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 1996. The company's net income was $33 million, including a one-time gain from the sale of a business unit, compared with net income of $29.1 million in the fourth quarter of 1996.

For the year, Varian's revenues were $1.426 billion, down 11% compared with revenues of $1.599 billion in fiscal 1996. The company's net income was $115.6 million, compared with $122.1 million the prior year. Despite the lower revenues and net income, Varian said that all three of its businesses bounced back in the fourth quarter and should turn in strong performances in 1998.