Nov 20 (Reuters) - Agilent Technologies beat estimates for fourth-quarter profit thanks to lower costs, sending its shares up about 6% after-market on Monday, even as the medical equipment maker forecast a downbeat 2024 on weakness in key market China.
Larger peers Thermo Fisher and Danaher have also said the demand slump from biotechs for contract research services could extend into next year.
Biotechs, hit by a funding crunch due to higher interest rates, have reined in spending on drug development since the start of the year, while slowing growth in China has also crimped demand for lab equipment and services.
Agilent expects to earn adjusted profit between $5.44 and $5.55 per share for fiscal 2024, compared with analysts' expectations of $5.61 per share, according to LSEG data.
The California-based company sees full-year revenue of $6.71 billion to $6.81 billion, compared with estimates of $6.98 billion.
"Given the expected slower market conditions, we've taken additional steps to adjust our cost structure," finance chief Robert McMahon said on an earnings call.
Agilent's total costs and expenses for the fourth quarter fell 7% from last year to $1.28 billion.
McMahon also said the company's full-year forecast included about $175 million of cost savings, driven by measures including some potential real-estate closures and job cuts.
Total quarterly revenue fell 8.7% to $1.69 billion, but came in above estimates of $1.67 billion.
It earned adjusted profit of $1.38 per share, marginally above expectations of $1.34 per share.
"As we look ahead to 2024, we anticipate a slow but steady recovery," CEO Mike McMullen said. (Reporting by Bhanvi Satija in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)