Charles River rides M&A to a big revenue year

CRO giant Charles River Laboratories ($CRL) ended 2014 with a bang, boosting revenue by about 14% in the fourth quarter to close a deal-filled year.

The company grossed $329.5 million in the fourth quarter, besting the $289.2 million it posted in the same period last year. Charles River's discovery and safety assessment business led the way with $149.6 million in quarterly revenue, a 35.4% year-over-year jump driven by the CRO's recent acquisitions. The manufacturing business grew 10.6% to $62.3 million on the quarter, helping to compensate for a roughly 4% decline in Charles River's banner research models and services segment.

On the year, Charles River grew revenue 11.3% to $1.3 billion, increasing net income by 23.2% to $129.9 million. Now, the CRO is expecting 2015 revenue to come in between 6% and 7.5% higher than last year's and forecasting earnings per share of $3.55 to $3.65.

Charles River's optimism is due in large part to the company's $179 million acquisition of Argenta and BioFocus, two discovery-focused service providers formerly owned by Galapagos. And, in the fall, Charles River traded $52 million for ChanTest, an Ohio outfit that specializes in ion channel testing for early-stage drug development.

"Given our strong performance in 2014, and the fact that we believe the company is very well positioned to win new business, we are optimistic about the opportunities in 2015," CEO James Foster said in a statement. "The potential for expanding strategic relationships, gaining market share in each of our client segments, and implementation of new efficiency and productivity initiatives give us confidence that we can achieve our guidance in 2015."

- read the results

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