Icon posts another revenue jump and dials up its expectations

Icon CEO Ciaran Murray

CRO giant Icon ($ICLR) charted double-digit revenue growth in the third quarter, chugging toward its best-ever year and lifting its earnings projections in the process.

Net revenue jumped 14% year over year for the Irish-headquartered company, reaching $388 million. Icon's profits came in at $50.3 million, an 80% leap over its 2013 results.

Year to date, the CRO has pulled in $1.1 billion in revenue, 12.4% above its haul last year, and grown net income 66% to $127.3 million.

Now Icon is lifting its full-year profit guidance from a range of $2.62 to $2.68 per share to $2.74 to $2.79. However, to account for a strong euro, the CRO has reduced its 2014 revenue projection by about 1% to a maximum of $1.5 billion.

On the whole, Icon is well on its way to meeting its goals for the year, CEO Ciaran Murray said, growing both its gross and operating margins while maintaining a healthy backlog.

"Quarter three represented further progress in the execution of our strategic plan," Murray said in a statement. "Net new business wins in the quarter of $468 million delivered a book-to-bill of 1.21."

Icon has consistently focused on expanding its technology to stand out among the world's largest researchers, evidenced by its $143.5 million deal for the adaptive trials-focused Aptiv Solutions earlier this year. The company has been deepening its offerings in the field 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.

- read the results