Icon upbeat for 2017 despite missing revenue targets

Icon shares recovered from an early decline yesterday as the Irish clinical research and drug development services firm met fourth- quarter earnings targets, but narrowly came up short on revenue estimates.

The company’s shares are listed on Nasdaq. It saw its shares slip by just under 1% on the back of announcing its annual results for 2016. A net profit of $74.3m (€69.8m) was reported for the final three months of last year — representing a 17.1% increase on the same period last year.

The fourth-quarter earnings were in line with Wall Street analysts expectations, but revenues for the period — showing a near 8% year-on-year rise to $435.1m — narrowly missed expectations for sales of $441m.

For the full year, Icon’s revenues increased 5.8% to just under $1.67bn, while net earnings were up by 12.4% to $269.3m. Icon’s share price has been strong of late. It is up 14% since the turn of the year and ahead by 25% over the past year. It was in marginal growth mode in afternoon trading yesterday.

Management has reiterated its full-year 2017 revenue guidance of $1.7bn to $1.75bn and earnings per share of $5-to-$5.20; representing growth rates of 2% to 5% and 4.8% to 9%. Speaking on the back of yesterday’s results, Icon’s chief executive Ciaran Murray said 2016 had been a good year for the company and that management is expecting further revenue and earnings growth this year.

“We grew our backlog by 8% year-on-year to $4.2bn, constant currency revenues increased by 6.4% and we exited 2016 with an operating margin of 19.5%. This enabled us to grow earnings per share by 19.8% year-on-year to $4.77.

"We expect 2017 to be another year of revenue and earnings growth as we continue to build and diversify our customer base,” he said.

Among Icon’s off-balance sheet highlights last year were the acquisition of US firm ClinicalRM, which extends its presence in the market for government-sponsored research into vaccines and infectious diseases; a renewal of its contract to carry out clinical trails for Pfizer and being selected by Genomics England to support the world’s largest genome sequencing programme for cancer and rare diseases.

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Central Bank governor urges patience over tracker probe

RSA Ireland targeting return to profit this year

British government sells down more shares in Lloyds as AIB decision looms

Naysayers need to take stock of positive employment data

Breaking Stories

US stocks extend winning streak to 11th day

Fifa 17 games to be shown live on BT Sport

Everything to look out for at Mobile World Congress, and why you should care

Apple's new headquarters will open in April and features a tribute to Steve Jobs


Ask Audrey: “I want him to tie me to the bed and pretend to be Donald Trump.”

Our day, our way: Tearing up the wedding rule book

Take control of your fertility with natural family planning

Beauty trends you’ll be bursting to try this spring

More From The Irish Examiner