Icon charts another sales jump with eyes on a big year

CRO giant Icon ($ICLR) continued its steady progress with another double-digit quarter of sales growth, piling up revenue with hopes of clearing $1.5 billion this year.

The Irish researcher brought in $376 million in revenue on the quarter, a 12.5% leap over the prior year. Net income came in at $40.7 million, good for an 80% leap over the second quarter of 2013. For the first half, Icon is pacing about 11% ahead of last year on revenue and up roughly 85% on profits.

Now the CRO is considerably increasing its full-year earnings guidance, from a range of $2.30 to $2.40 to between $2.62 and $2.68, and the company is raising the low end of its revenue expectation, still forecasting for as much as $1.5 billion for 2014.

To get there, Icon will need to keep stringing together business wins and broadening its service offering, something CEO Ciaran Murray said is all part of the plan.

Icon CEO Ciaran Murray

"We continue to make progress in line with our strategic plan delivering $458 million of new business in the quarter, representing a book to bill of 1.22," Murray said in a statement.

Speeding its progress is Aptiv Solutions, an adaptive trials-focused outfit Icon bought for $143.5 million in March. The company has been deepening its offerings in adaptive trials over the past year, unveiling service platforms that allow sponsors to monitor safety issues, keep tabs on sites and track and visualize efficacy trends all in real time.

Icon has also poured money and effort into its infrastructure, spending $52 million to snag Cross Country Healthcare's functional service business last year. Those efforts have paid off, as the company has posted quarter after quarter of revenue growth since ditching the Irish Stock Exchange and making its way to the Nasdaq in 2012.

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