(A) Agilent Upgrades GNSS Software

Agilent Inc. (A) has upgraded its Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) software N7609B with real-time and basic capabilities. The upgraded version enables engineers to replicate Galileo signals required in the manufacturing test market.

Launched in 2011, Galileo is a GNSS developed by the European Union (EU) and European Space Agency (ESA). The system is independent, non-military and intended for common civilian usage. The navigation system is a neutral technology freely available for use in every country.

With Agilent’s upgraded software, manufacturers will be able to test mobile devices for their ability to read Galileo signals. This is a positive for Agilent, as it will boost the company’s communications test revenue.

The manufacturers can now improve the real time location capabilities of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices by incorporating the benefits of the GNSS system into the devices.

The smartphone and tablet markets are on an upswing as a study by multiple market research companies suggests that smartphone units may grow at a CAGR of 21.0% to 1.179 billion, with tablets growing 39.0% to 311 million units.

The Chinese government is further investing in the navigation system and is expected to contribute 400 Yuan by 2020. Other countries such as Russia, Japan and India are also planning to launch their own GNSS system.

GNSS adoption is likely to accelerate over the next few years. Therefore, there is a growth opportunity for Agilent as the market for smartphone-based navigation system has well established its importance. This technology is also being adopted in aviation, marine, environmental protection, weather and others and this can open opportunity for GNSS to flourish further. The adoption of GNSS by others is also positive for Agilent to grow.

The successful adoption of GNSS system is expected to provide Agilent an advantage over its peers such as Maxim Integrated Products (MXIM), Linear Technology (LLTC) and Texas Instruments (TXN).

Agilent’s revenue in the third quarter was flat sequentially and up 1.9% year over year, short of management’s expectations of a 2-3% sequential increase ($1.77 billion to $1.79 billion). The Electronic Measurement segment contributed 49.0% of revenue. The weakness was on the computing/semiconductor sides of the business. The Life Sciences segment generated 23.0% of revenue, down 1.0% sequentially and up 2.1% from last year. The Chemical Analysis segment generated 22.0% of third quarter revenue, down 8.8% sequentially and 7.0% year over year. The sequential decline was largely because of weakness in food testing.

Currently, Agilent Technologies has a Zacks #5 Rank, implying a short-term ‘Strong Sell’ rating.

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