AGILENT Technologies, which employs 850 people in South Queensferry, said orders over the first quarter of the year were up 15 per cent to £776 million.
The rise in orders coincided with a ten per cent increase in sales over the period to 770m while net earnings jumped to 1.62 billion, from 59.2m previously, helped by the sale of its Semiconductor Products unit and its 47 per cent share in Lumileds. The analysis and measurement firm recently announced a 5.6m investment at South Queensferry.
Bill Sullivan, Agilent's president and chief executive, said: "We are pleased with Agilent's performance in the first quarter of 2006," noting that gross margins were at the highest level in five years. "Operationally, we also performed to our commitments.
"With backlog at its highest level in one-and-a-half years and a continued rapid pace of new product introductions, we are well positioned for the second quarter and 2006."
The firm forecast second quarter sales to be up around 12 per cent at between 787m-822m.
Agilent also said that preparations for a planned spin-off of its Semiconductor Test Solutions business were on schedule, with an initial public offering expected to take place in the middle of this year.
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