Bruker Corp.’s (NSDQ:BRKR) investigations of anonymous tips alleging that its Chinese Bruker Optics subsidiary was engaged in bribery turned up evidence of improper payments.
"To date, the investigation has found evidence indicating that payments were made that improperly benefit employees or agents of government-owned enterprises in China," according to SEC filings.
Billerica, Mass.-based Bruker, which ranked 49th on the MassDevice Big 100 list of the world’s largest medical device companies, saw its shares plunge 12 percent to $14.39 at midday today after yesterday’s close at $16.26, despite having just posted a strong second quarter.
"The company is in the process of voluntarily contacting the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the United States Department of Justice to advise both agencies that an internal investigation is underway. It is the intent of the Audit Committee and the company to cooperate with both agencies in connection with any investigation that may be conducted in this matter," according to the SEC filing, which noted that Bruker China made up less than 2.5 percent of the company’s net sales in FY 2010.
Bruker posted strong sales for its second quarter ended June 30, coming in at $401 million, a 33 percent increase from the $301 million in sales reported during the same period last year.
Earnings dipped slightly, coming in at $22.1 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, a 2 percent loss from the $22.6 million, or 14 cents per diluted share, reported in 2010’s second quarter.
The company attributed the slip in earnings to expenditures associated with unexpected growth in sales.
"We continue to see strong demand, particularly from our industrial, clinical, homeland security and applied markets, and our major product introductions in the last eighteen months have given us very good growth and gross margin momentum," president & CEO Frank Laukien wrote in prepared remarks. "However, with our faster than expected bookings growth, we also saw faster expense growth in the first half of 2011, and we are not satisfied with our adjusted operating margin trends year-to-date."