Icon hails ‘solid start’ to Q1, but shares slide on results

Wall Street

Icon ($ICLR) saw steady growth of 3.1% for the first quarter as sales just tipped the $400 million mark--but missed analysts' sales estimates, sending its shares sharply downward. 

This represented 4.9% constant currency growth and 1.2% constant dollar organic growth year on year.

The Ireland-based CRO said income from operations in the quarter increased by 14% to $76 million or 19% of revenue compared to $66.7 million or 17.2% for the same quarter last year. Meanwhile, net income in the quarter increased by 12.7% to $63 million or $1.12 per share on a diluted basis--compared with $55.9 million or $0.90 per share for the same quarter last year.

Cash generated from operating activities for the quarter was $59.4 million with capital expenditure for the quarter hitting $7.7 million. As a result, at the end of March, the CRO had net debt of $100 million, compared to net debt of $158 million at the end of 2015.

But the markets weren’t as happy, with Icon’s shares down by more than 7% by midday (EDT) Tuesday--a sharp fall after a typical downward trend throughout April. The $1.12 per share hit Zacks’ consensus estimate but its $400.5 million missed analysts’ estimates of $414.35 million.

In its full year results, posted back in February, the CRO giant had also seen growth of 4.9% for 2015.

Icon’s CEO Ciaran Murray said: “Quarter one represents a solid start to 2016. We have grown our backlog of business to close to $4 billion, 9% higher than the same quarter last year. Revenue grew by 4.9% year-on-year on a constant currency basis and further margin expansion enabled us to deliver earnings per share of $1.12, a 24% increase over last year.”

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