Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE:TMO) hasn't been insulated from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Its shares were initially hit hard by the market sell-off caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. However, the healthcare giant has fared better than most stocks.

This outperformance could continue. Thermo Fisher Scientific announced better-than-expected first-quarter results before the market opened on Wednesday. Here are the highlights of the company's Q1 update.

Lab workers performing a test

Image source: Thermo Fisher Scientific.

By the numbers

Thermo Fisher reported first-quarter revenue of $6.23 billion. This reflected a 2% increase from the prior-year period revenue total of $6.12 billion. It also topped the consensus Wall Street Q1 revenue estimate of $6.17 billion.

The company announced Q1 net income of $788 million, or $1.97 per share, based on generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). This represented a decrease from GAAP earnings of $815 million, or $2.02 per share, reported in the same quarter of 2019. 

Thermo Fisher's non-GAAP adjusted net income in the first quarter was $2.94 per share. This reflected a 5% year-over-year increase and beat the average analysts' estimate of adjusted earnings of $2.79 per share.

Behind the numbers

The company's life sciences solutions segment delivered the strongest performance in the first quarter. The segment's revenue jumped 10% year over year to $1.77 billion.

Thermo Fisher's biggest overall moneymaker, its laboratory products and services segment, also generated solid growth. The company reported that revenue for the segment totaled $2.73 billion in Q1, up 9% from the prior-year period.

However, the picture wasn't as rosy for Thermo Fisher's other two business segments. Analytical instruments segment revenue slipped to $1.1 billion in the first quarter from $1.32 billion in the same period last year. The company announced specialty diagnostics segment revenue of $0.96 billion, basically flat year over year.

Thermo Fisher's GAAP bottom line worsened from the prior-year period mainly due to higher income taxes. However, the company's non-GAAP earnings improved year over year thanks in large part to making adjustments related to restructuring costs.

Looking ahead

Like many companies, Thermo Fisher Scientific withdrew its previously announced full-year 2020 guidance due to uncertainties related to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the coronavirus crisis also presents some opportunities for the company.

CEO Marc Casper noted that, "the COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the importance of the work we do at Thermo Fisher Scientific." He pointed to the company's rapid response in providing solutions for analyzing and diagnosing COVID-19.

While Thermo Fisher adapts to the changing market dynamics caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak, it's also moving forward with a major acquisition. Casper said the company is still on track to finalize its planned buyout of Qiagen in the first half of 2021.