Charles River ticks up revenue with M&A on tap

Charles River Laboratories ($CRL) posted a slight increase in sales last quarter, crediting a rise in preclinical demand as it counts on some new acquisitions to brighten 2014.

Sales came in at $299.4 million on the quarter, a 3% increase over the same period last year, and net income rose about 26% to $32.6 million. On a segment basis, Charles River's animal models and services business grew about 2% to $185.6 million, while the company's preclinical research unit jumped 5% to $113.8 million in Q1.

The quarter's modest growth fell right in line with company projections, CEO James Foster said, but market trends and M&A have Charles River optimistic about the rest of the year.

"Demand from our mid-tier biotechnology clients continued to increase, as improved access to funding and our targeted sales strategies combined to drive growth," Foster said in a statement. "After a slow start, demand from our global key accounts improved sharply in March, providing early indications of a stronger second quarter. We continued to make progress in the first quarter on our efficiency initiatives, as well as our strategy to expand our unique, early-stage portfolio through acquisitions."

Now, thanks to its recently closed $179 million deal for the CROs Argenta and BioFocus, Charles River is increasing its annual sales projection to as high as $1.3 billion, expecting up to 11% growth in 2014. The company is raising its net earnings range to between $3.15 and $3.25 per share, above the previously guided $3 to $3.10.

- read the results

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