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Fission Ahead At Perkin Elmer?

Fission Ahead At Perkin Elmer?

A world leader in analytical instruments and life-science systems, Perkin-Elmer (PKN) is under pressure--to analyze itself better. Specifically, some big, very unhappy stakeholders have been on the company's case to sell all or part of itself.

The betting is that Perkin-Elmer will soon announce the sale of its profitable life-science systems--to appease the likes of George Soros and Leon Cooperman, who heads Omega Advisers, a fast-growing $2 billion hedge fund. A sell-off would help thwart any takeover attempts. One investor says Perkin-Elmer has had talks with potential buyers of its life-science systems.

Chairman Gaynor Kelley says that the company is studying all "strategic alternatives." He noted that, although life-science operations did well last year, he was disappointed with the performance of the instruments business.

Perkin-Elmer's Applied Biosystems Div., which supplies equipment for life-science research, has an alliance with Hoffman-La Roche to develop polymerase chain reaction technology for the amplification of DNA. Perkin-Elmer's instruments, which determine the composition of chemical substances, are widely used in government and educational research.

Perkin-Elmer's earnings and sales in the fiscal year ended June 30 were below the Street's projections. It earned $1.57 a share for fiscal 1995, down from last year's $1.66. Revenues were flat, at $1.06 billion, vs. last year's $1.02 billion.

And Perkin-Elmer stock, now at 32, has been a laggard, even as the market broke records. Some analysts put its breakup value at $50 a share.