Illumina takes 1Q loss on Syntrix charge

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Genetic analysis instrument company Illumina Inc. on Monday reported a loss in the first quarter after a federal jury found it infringed on a patent belonging to Syntrix Biosystems.

Illumina said in March that the jury ruled in Syntrix’s favor and ordered Illumina to pay Syntrix $ 96 million. Illumina plans to ask the judge to vacate the finding because it believes the claim lacks merit. During the first quarter, however, Illumina said it took a charge of $ 106.9 million related to the litigation.

The company said it lost $ 22.6 million, or 18 cents per share, during the period. It reported a profit of $ 26.2 million, or 20 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2012.

If one-time items including the legal contingencies are excluded, Illumina said it earned 46 cents per share in the latest quarter. Revenue increased 21 percent, to $ 331 million from $ 272.8 million.

Analysts were expecting adjusted net income of 39 cents per share and $ 311.5 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Shares of Illumina rose $ 3.45, or 6.3 percent, to $ 58.57 in aftermarket trading. The stock lost 97 cents to $ 55.12 during the regular trading session before the quarterly results were issued.

Syntrix said Illumina’s BeadChip products infringed on a patent belonging to Syntrix. BeadChips are silicon wafers the size of a microscope slide. They are covered in tiny silica beads, and each bead is covered with DNA molecules that capture gene sequences. The company’s BeadArray technology allows it to run tests on those gene sequences, performing a broad analysis of genetic variation and biological function.


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Cypress Semiconductor posts bigger 1Q loss

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Chip maker Cypress Semiconductor Corp. reported a wider first-quarter loss on Thursday as revenue fell. The results beat Wall Street’s expectations.

The company posted a net loss of or $ 28.2 million, or 19 cents per share, in the January-March period. That compares with a loss of $ 19.5 million, or 13 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier. Adjusted earnings were 3 cents per share in the latest quarter, down from 12 cents per share a year earlier.

Revenue fell 7 percent to $ 172.7 million.

Analysts, on average, expected adjusted earnings of a penny per share on revenue of $ 167.8 million, according to FactSet.

The company expects revenue of $ 355 million to $ 375 million in the second quarter.

Shares of the San Jose, Calif.-based Cypress fell 81 cents, or 7.4 percent, to $ 10.15 in midday trading. The stock has traded in the 52-week range of $ 8.70 and $ 17.41.


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AMR trims 1Q loss as labor costs fall

DALLAS (AP) — American Airlines parent AMR Corp. reported a smaller loss for the first quarter than a year ago on slightly higher revenue and much lower labor costs.

AMR said Thursday that it lost $ 341 million, compared with a loss of $ 1.66 billion a year earlier.

The nation’s third-largest airline said that it would’ve earned $ 8 million excluding costs of its bankruptcy restructuring. The first quarter is the weakest of the year for airlines, and this marked AMR’s first adjusted profit in the period since 2007.

“A modest first quarter profit shows that we are off and running for the year,” CEO Tom Horton said in an interview.

Revenue rose 1 percent to $ 6.1 billion. Labor costs declined 17 percent as American cut jobs. Horton said the company’s bankruptcy restructuring made its costs competitive with other airlines.

AMR is in the process of merging with US Airways and emerging from bankruptcy protection. If antitrust regulators approve the merger, the combined airline will be the biggest in the world.

Once that deal is done, mergers will have reduced eight big U.S. airline companies to four. At the same time, airlines have limited the supply of seats, which helps boost prices. American enjoyed it highest average fare per mile ever in the January-March period.

American’s on-time performance improved in the first quarter. But it suffered a setback this week with a computer-systems breakdown that caused massive delays and cancellations Tuesday and Wednesday. Horton took to YouTube to apologize to customers, and blamed the outage on a “software issue.” He declined to be much more specific Thursday.

“We do understand the cause of the failure,” Horton said. “We’re continuing to investigate and do further testing, but we have a high degree of confidence that situation won’t recur.”


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Earnings Preview: Peabody seen posting 1Q loss

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Peabody Energy Corp., the world’s biggest private-sector coal company, is expected to post sharply lower results compared to a year ago, when it reports first-quarter results before the stock market opens Thursday.

Like other coal companies, St. Louis-based Peabody has struggled amid stubbornly soft demand that has driven down coal prices. But the producer said in January there have been signs of recovery and it expects earnings to rise this year as some demand and prices improve.

Peabody was encouraged by China’s growth prospects and expects coal demand in the U.S. to rise as prices increase for natural gas, a fuel that competes with coal for generating electricity. It also expects a boost from international demand for coal used in power generation.

In a recent note to clients, Raymond James analyst James Rollyson upgraded Peabody to “Outperform,” saying he expected prospects of the company, whose shares have performed worse than many other coal stocks, to improve after the first quarter.

Peabody also faces legal challenges, the most visible being its involvement in the unfolding St. Louis federal bankruptcy proceedings of former holding Patriot Coal Corp.

In pursuing Chapter 11 bankruptcy last July, Patriot cited exceptionally soft coal markets, rising costs and “unsustainable legacy liabilities” tied to its 2007 spinoff from Peabody. Patriot said coal markets have only worsened since then, contributing to what the company now says are crushing labor and retirement benefit expenses requiring “critical financial relief in a timeframe that avoids severe business disruption.”

The union has argued that Peabody set up Patriot to fail so pension and health care benefits involving tens of thousands of retirees and their families could be shed.

On the regulatory front, Peabody in February revealed that the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating the company’s role in the southern Illinois development of the largest coal-fueled power plant built in the U.S. in the past three decades. That Prairie State Energy Campus southeast of St. Louis includes a 1,600-megawatt electricity generating plant and an adjacent coal mine. Its two electricity generators went online last year.

The project began more than a decade ago but was dogged by construction snags and escalating costs. Peabody owns roughly 5 percent of the campus, which the company developed with a consortium of other public power cooperatives in various states. The plant now serves 2.5 million households from Missouri to West Virginia.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Analysts likely will look for Peabody’s outlook for demand of metallurgical coal used in making steel, and to what extent the company sees its prospects improving after a presumably difficult first three months of this year. Analysts also will be watching closely for any guidance Peabody offers for 2013.

WHY IT MATTERS: Peabody’s earnings are closely watched because the company usually is among the first of the coal sector’s big players to report earnings each quarter. It gives analysts and investors a snapshot of the industry’s health, including an outlook for thermal coal demand used to produce electricity.

WHAT’S EXPECTED: On average, analysts polled by FactSet expect Peabody to report a first-quarter loss of 14 cents per share on revenue of $ 1.78 billion. In January, the company said it expected the adjusted loss of 4 to 26 cents per share.

Analysts expect full-year earnings of 33 cents per share on revenue of $ 7.7 billion. Peabody has not offered a full-year forecast.

EARLIER SHOWINGS: In the first quarter a year ago, Peabody reported net income of $ 172.7 million or 67 cents per share on revenue of $ 2.04 billion.

STOCK PERFORMANCE: Peabody shares dropped 18 percent during the first quarter of this year.


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Southcross Energy posts 4Q loss

DALLAS (AP) — Natural gas company Southcross Energy Partners LP, which went public last November, posted a net loss for the fourth quarter and said the results were worse than what it expected.

Shares fell more than 15 percent in afternoon trading.

Southcross booked a loss of $ 7.9 million, or 17 cents per unit, in the final three months of last year. A year earlier, the company booked a loss of $ 1.1 million, also 17 cents per unit.

Revenue rose 9 percent to $ 151.7 million.

Natural gas volumes increased 1 percent from a year earlier.

“We anticipated a challenging fourth quarter but encountered several events more significant than expected,” David Biegler, chairman, president and CEO of Southcross’ general partner, said in a statement. “While fourth quarter performance was below our expectations, we have accomplished several key milestones since our IPO and recently signed new contracts that are expected to improve our financial performance beginning in May.”

Shares fell $ 4.20, or 16.3 percent, to $ 21.55 in afternoon trading. Earlier, the stock fell to $ 21.35, its lowest level since it began trading on Nov. 2.


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