ST LOUIS, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sigma-Aldrich, a leading Life Science and High Technology company, reported that its fourth quarter 2008 diluted EPS grew by 6% to $0.68 from $0.64 in the same quarter of 2007.
Reported sales of $510 million in the fourth quarter 2008 declined by 4% compared to 2007. Excluding the impact of currency, sales in the fourth quarter grew 3% from a year ago. Fourth quarter organic sales for the Company's Research business grew 4%, while the Specialty Fine Chemicals business (SAFC) organic sales were in-line with prior year level.
Operating margin in the fourth quarter 2008 increased by 30 basis points to 22.5% from the same period of 2007, reflecting benefits from process improvements, global supply chain initiatives, cost containment initiatives and recent strategic pricing actions.
For the full year 2008, reported sales grew by 8% compared with 2007, to a record $2.2 billion. Excluding the benefit of currency and acquisitions, overall sales grew by 5%, with Research and SAFC sales up by 6% and 3%, respectively. Reported diluted EPS for 2008 increased by 13% from 2007 to a record $2.65.
Other 2008 Highlights:
-- Expanded full year operating margin by 40 basis points to 22.9% through higher sales, operating process improvements and strategic pricing actions.
-- Reported strong net income and free cash flow of $342 million and $314 million, respectively, for the full year.
-- Realized currency benefits of $.02 and $.27 in reported, diluted EPS for the fourth quarter and full year, respectively.
-- Achieved sales to CAPLA (Canada, Asia Pacific, Latin America) markets of 22% of total sales.
-- Increased fourth quarter sales through the Company's award winning web site by 5%. Web based sales now represent 42% of worldwide Research-based sales in the fourth quarter.
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