PRA eyes double-digit growth in 2016 after a banner revenue year

In today’s revenue-focused industry, it’s a critical matter of where that business came from and how much it cost to secure.

PRA CEO Colin Shannon

By Ben Adams

PRA Health Sciences ($PRAH) posted a solid set of financials for the fourth quarter as it predicts double-digit growth in the coming year.

The Raleigh, NC-based CRO saw its service revenue hit $362.3 million, which represents growth of 11.9%, or $38.5 million, compared to the fourth quarter of 2014 at actual foreign exchange rates.

On a constant-currency basis, service revenue grew $48.8 million, an increase of 15.1% compared to last year's final quarter. New business also did well for the quarter as it was up $459.4 million, representing a book-to-bill ratio of 1.27 for the period.

Meanwhile, service revenue for the full year was $1.37 billion, up 8.6% ($109.3 million) compared to 2014 at actual foreign exchange rates.

On a constant currency basis, service revenue grew $154.7 million--growth of 12.2% compared to the year previous.

For 2016, PRA said it expects to achieve service revenues between $1.53 billion and $1.57 billion, representing constant currency growth of 11% to 14%.

"We entered 2015 positioned for growth and are delighted to have delivered double digit constant currency revenue growth and bottom line results that exceeded expectations," said Colin Shannon, PRA's chief executive officer.

"We are well positioned for the coming year, as evidenced by our record level of new business awards and backlog, we continue to stay focused on our key strategic objectives, and we look forward to delivering strong results in 2016."

PRA has been quickly expanding its global profile since executing a roughly $300 million IPO in late 2014, coming off the back of the private equity firm KKR ($KKR) picking up the CRO for $1.3 billion the year before and merging it with ReSearch Pharmaceutical Services.

Since then, the new-look PRA has been adding employees around the world, setting up recruitment platforms targeting nurses, study coordinators and healthcare workers who may thrive as clinical research associates.

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