Agilent Technologies, Sonoma County's largest high-tech employer, on Wednesday reported slower sales but growing orders for the electronics measurement division that later this year will become a stand-alone company based in Santa Rosa.
Net revenue for the measurement division declined to $743 million for the quarter ending April 30, down 2 percent from a year earlier. But orders grew 11.5 percent to $782 million.
The "fantastic" growth in measurement orders was "the real story of the quarter," Agilent President and CEO Bill Sullivan said in a conference call Wednesday with investors.
Agilent reported that the quarter's total net revenue remained unchanged from a year earlier at $1.73 billion. Total orders, which typically include firm commitments over the next six months, increased 7 percent to $1.81 billion.
Last year, Agilent announced that its electronic measure division would be spun off into a new company named Keysight Technologies. Santa Clara-based Agilent will continue on as a life sciences and chemical analysis company.
Keysight, which will be headquartered in Santa Rosa, will start operating under its own name on Aug. 1 and will be spun off completely from Agilent by early November, the company said.
"We look forward to having our new name in front of our building in Santa Rosa pretty soon," said Guy S?? president of the current electronics measurement group and a senior vice president for Keysight.
The growth in measurement orders reversed declines that had occurred for several quarters, S??said. It was driven by makers of wireless devices and semiconductors.
Looking ahead, S??said, the company is projecting revenue growth for the measurement division of 8 percent for the two quarters that will end Oct. 31.
Part of that growth is expected to come from the federal government, whose purchases have been constrained from past budget cutbacks known as sequestration.
"We expect the government business to accelerate toward the end of the fiscal year" this fall, Executive Vice President Ron Nersesian said in the conference call. Nersesian will be Keysight's first president/CEO.
The executive team for Keysight has been selected and soon all of its members will be in Santa Rosa, S??said. The most recent selection is Jay Alexander as chief technology officer. Alexander currently is an Agilent vice president and general manager for the company's Oscilloscope and Protocol Division.
For Agilent, net income for the recent quarter totaled $150 million, or 45 cents per share, compared to $166 million, or 48 cents per share, a year earlier.
Agilent stock, which closed at $55.85 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange, fell 1.1 percent in after-hours trading.