Covance released strong fourth quarter and year end 2008 financial results late Wednesday with revenue increases in both early and late-stage development segments.
Total fourth quarter net revenues were $439 million, up 6.7% from the same period last year. Net income for the quarter was $45.6 million, down 2.5% year over year, with diluted earnings per share of $0.72, down 0.6% from the same quarter last year.
Net revenues for early development were $214.2 million, up 3.1% from $207.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2007. Late-stage development revenues were $224.4 million, up 10.5% from $203.1 million in the same period last year.
While both early- and late-stage development revenues were up, profitability for the early-stage segment declined to 21.4% from 24.8% for the fourth quarter last year.
"Reduced demand in our Early Development segment from a combination of a lower level of new project initiations and increased project delays in our toxicology and clinical pharmacology services led to a sequential decline in segment revenue and operating income," said Covance chairman and CEO Joe Herring in a company release.
Covance’s late-stage development segment increased its operating margin from 16% in Q4 2007 to 19.6% in the fourth quarter of 2008.
Because of the strength in its late-stage development segment, Covance maintained its 2009 full-year revenue growth guidance of 5% to 10% year over year and earnings per share in the range of $3 to $3.20.
In afternoon trading, Covance’s share prices were up almost 8% to $39.72.