Quintiles looks to 2015 with another banner year in the books

Quintiles' CEO Tom Pike

After clearing roughly $4.2 billion in revenue in 2014, Quintiles ($Q) is projecting another big year ahead, as the world's largest CRO counts on its backlog to keep business rolling in.

Quintiles' fourth-quarter revenue came in at about $1.1 billion, a 6% leap over the same period last year driven by a 2.3% jump in its sweeping product development unit and a 33% increase in its small healthcare services segment. On the full year, the CRO boosted its revenue by 9.4% to $4.2 billion, and the company's net profits leapt by 57.3% to $356.4 million.

Now the company expects its 2015 revenue to grow between 7.5% and 9% over the prior year, forecasting earnings growth of 12% to 16%. Quintiles increased its net new business by 14.4% to $5.6 billion, the company said, creating an $11.2 billion backlog the CRO believes will pave its way in 2015.

"We are well positioned for the long term with our industry-leading backlog," CEO Tom Pike said in a statement. "As the leader in biopharmaceutical services, we continue to bring innovative insights and superior delivery of results to the industry to increase the probability of success of our customers. Our 32,000 people are committed to our vision of bringing people and knowledge together for a healthier world."

Meanwhile, Quintiles is in the late stages of a years-long transition in which founder Dennis Gillings and the two private equity heavyweights that took the company public back away from its leadership ranks.

Gillings, Bain and TPG grossed more than $400 million in Quintiles' $947 million IPO, and they pulled in another $1 billion in a follow-on offering last year. That transaction put their ownership stake below 50%, allowing Quintiles to shed its "controlled company" status on Wall Street, and now the company must reduce the size of its board from 11 to 9 and recruit 5 independent members.

And, by year's end, Gillings plans to step down from his role as chairman, endorsing Pike's leadership and agreeing to take on a more advisory role at the CRO.

- read the results

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