Charles River boosts its 2015 outlook after strong sales quarter

Charles River Laboratories ($CRL) returned to revenue growth on a wave of dealmaking, lifting its full-year guidance in response.

In the third quarter, the CRO grew revenue 6.7% to $349.5 million, absorbing a 5.5% blow from foreign currency translation. Charles River's banner research models business slipped 4.5% to $118.5 million, but a 12.4% jump in its discovery segment and a 16% increase in manufacturing revenue helped make up for the decline.

The company's net income grew about 17% to $37.9 million on the quarter.

Now Charles River is raising its 2015 revenue projection by about 11% at midpoint, expecting growth between 9.5% and 10% on a constant currency basis. Accounting for the comparative strength of the dollar, that should amount to a 4.5% to 5% increase, the company said, besting the 3% to 4.5% it previously guided.

Charles River CEO James Foster

"These results demonstrate the strength of our unique portfolio, the success of our targeted sales strategies, and our initiatives to increase operating effectiveness and efficiency," Charles River CEO James Foster said in a statement. "We have differentiated ourselves from the competition and are gaining market share because clients appreciate the value we bring to their research efforts and the emphasis we place on individualized service."

The CRO has repeatedly turned to M&A to expand its share of the nonclinical research market, buying four companies over the past year to stretch out its service platform. In July, Charles River traded $212 million for Celsis, a company focused on quality-control testing. Last year, the CRO paid $179 million for Argenta and BioFocus, two discovery-focused service providers formerly owned by Galapagos ($GLPG). And in the fall, the company shelled out $52 million for ChanTest, an Ohio outfit that specializes in ion-channel testing for early-stage drug development.

- read the results