Biotage AB (Biotage) has reported net sales of SEK497.8 million for the full year of 2008, compared with the net sales of SEK496.4 million in the previous year-end. It has reported profit after tax of SEK299.1 million, or SEK3.38 per share, for the full year of 2008, compared with the profit after tax of SEK99.4 million, or SEK1.12 per share, in the previous year-end.


Fourth quarter 2008

Net sales increased by six percent to SEK143.2 million (134.5). At comparable exchange rates sales decreased by 7 percent.

The operating profit amounted to SEK19.1 million (15.3).

The profit after tax amounted to SEK265.1 million (42.9).

Earnings per share amounted to SEK3.00 (0.48) before and after dilution.

The net cash amounted to SEK358.1 million at December 31, 2008.

The cash flow from operating activities amounted to SEK46.8 million (12.6).

The Biosystems business area was divested for an initial purchase sum of $53 million, which led to a capital gain amounting to 252.1 million before tax.

Comments from chief executive officer Torben Jorgensen

2008 has been a year of many great changes for Biotage and the company achieved its best operating profit ever, SEK50.0 million. A contributing factor was the weak Swedish krona.

During the first nine months of the year the companys management and board carried out a strategic evaluation of the companys operations. At the start of the fourth quarter the Biosystems business area was sold to the German biotech company Qiagen.

The deal meant that Qiagen acquired the assets and some liabilities in the business area together with Biotages shares in Corbett (17.5%) for an initial purchase sum of $53 million. Provided that certain sales targets are met, additional purchase sums totaling a maximum of $7 million may be paid to Biotage during the period from Qiagens taking possession of the operations up to December 31, 2012. During the fourth quarter Biotage achieved the first additional purchase sum of $500,000. Qiagen took over all Biosystems employees.

During the fourth quarter Biotage successfully worked as Qiagens distributor of Biosystems products and Biosystems achieved the highest sales ever in a quarter.

Discovery Chemistry is much affected by the ongoing restructuring within the major pharma companies. In the fourth quarter we saw a continued receding development of their instrument purchases. On the positive side we can note that the development in the academic area continues to be good and that Biotage is progressing well in this area. The efforts to develop and strengthen the Discovery Chemistry business area, with the aim of improving the operating margin and creating organic growth, are now further intensified.

In order to improve profitability and reduce the capital tied up it was decided in January 2009 to close down the plant in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA, and to move the production to a subcontractor and to Biotages own plant in Cardiff, Wales. As a consequence, Biotage intends to make a provision for planned restructuring costs in the interim report for the first quarter 2009.

After the divestment of Biosystems the company now has a strong financial position. For the first time dividends to the shareholders are recommended. 2009 will be a demanding year for Biotage, as it will be for many others. We are naturally affected by the current business climate. But it also creates opportunities. Biotage has a healthy business and cash that allows us to expand our operations at a time when this can be expected to be possible at reasonable economic terms. The efficiency enhancing measures now taken in connection with the restructuring of the American operations will strengthen us further.