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Agilent rewards employees after record year

  • (From right) Gary Hahn, Joe Robinson, and Silas Alvarenga assemble PXA-3 Spectrum Analyzers at Agilent Technologies in Santa Rosa, California on Tuesday, November 15, 2011. (BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

Agilent Technologies' Santa Rosa-based electronic measurement business posted its most profitable quarter in history Tuesday, powered by demand for ever-more sophisticated smartphones.

Sales of wireless test equipment produced by Sonoma County's largest high-tech company jumped 50 percent last quarter, said Ron Nersesian, who heads the Santa Rosa division.

"I don't think we're going to see that take a pause," he told Wall Street analysts Tuesday.

While many local companies are still struggling to gain traction, the year-end financial results showed Agilent has clearly emerged from the recession.

On Tuesday, Nersesian said employees in its measurement unit will get a minimum 14 percent bonus next month, a windfall based on their strong second-half performance.

"In this economy, I think that's a good deal," he said.

Agilent has about 1,150 employees in Santa Rosa, mostly in the measurement group. The division has 8,000 workers worldwide.

The unit, which accounts for almost half of the company's revenues, reported $855 million in sales for the fourth quarter ended Oct. 31. That was up 12 percent from the same period a year ago.

Overall, Agilent ended its fiscal year with a record $6.6 billion in companywide sales, up 22 percent from 2010.

"It was an excellent year for Agilent," said CEO Bill Sullivan. "We delivered the best operating performance in our history."

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