Third-quarter sales were down 21% year over year. The year-over-year comparisons have been getting worse as the year has progressed. That's especially depressing because Affymetrix's closest competitor, Illumina
The problem is that Affymetrix doesn't sell sequencers -- the hot commodity that's flying off Illumina's shelves -- and no one seems to want the genome and RNA analyzers that it does sell. Sales of instruments were down 42%.
The good news is that Affymetrix has been in the business for a long time and therefore has a huge installed base. Its instruments are still being used, and sales of consumable products actually increased versus the year-ago quarter. That'll keep it afloat, but long term, Affymetrix has to increase sales of its machines if it's going to grow revenues.
As pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer
Affymetrix is now trading at one-tenth the market cap of Illumina, even though Illumina is expected to have sales only about twice as large as Affymetrix. While that's dirt cheap and might qualify Affymetrix as an ugly stock that's a great opportunity, I'd recommend investors wait until they see signs of recovery, like increasing instrument or test sales, before buying shares.
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