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(Recasts; adds details, analyst comments, updates share movement)
By Aradhana Aravindan
BANGALORE, April 22 (Reuters) - Waters Corp (WAT.N), a maker of instruments used in drug research, reported a 24 percent rise in quarterly profit, helped by higher margin expansions and strong global sales, and raised its full-year outlook, sending its shares up as much as 9 percent.
The company, which competes with Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc (TMO.N) and Applied Biosystems Group ABI.N, also forecast second-quarter earnings that could meet or beat analysts' estimates.
"While this quarter was a bit of a struggle, we think the company is pointed in the right direction with its strong product platform," Deutsche Bank analyst Ross Muken said in a note to clients.
Muken raised his price target on the stock to $78 from $73 and kept his "buy" rating.
For the latest first quarter, the company benefited from new product cost reductions, favorable product mix and currency translation, John Ornell, Chief Financial Officer, said in a conference call with analysts.
Shares of the Milford, Massachusetts-based company were trading up more than 5 percent at $57.39 in afternoon trade on the New York Stock Exchange.
For the second quarter, the company expects to earn 69 cents to 73 cents a share, with an 11 percent to 13 percent growth in sales. Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 69 cents a share, before items, on revenue of $394.3 million for the second quarter.
For 2008, the company expects adjusted earnings in the range of $3.20 to $3.30 per share and sales growth of 10 percent to 12 percent. In January, the company had pegged its earnings view at about $3.20 a share.
Analysts were expecting a profit of $3.21 a share, before items, on revenue of $1.64 billion for 2008.
The company said it saw some delays in spending from many of its pharmaceutical customers in Europe and a continued weakness in sales in Japanese markets in the latest first quarter.
But sales in Asia, excluding Japan, were up 27 percent and there was a 9 percent sales growth in the United States.
For the latest first quarter, the company earned $68.5 million, or 67 cents a share, up from the $55.9 million, or 54 cents a share, it reported a year ago. Excluding certain items, earnings were 69 cents per share.
Net sales for the quarter rose about 12 percent to $371.7 million, just shy of market expectations.
Analysts had expected earnings of 64 cents a share, excluding special items, on revenue of $373.9 million, according to Reuters Estimates. (Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)