Operating income at ICON, the international contract research organisation (CRO) based in Dublin, Ireland, jumped by 45.1% in the third quarter of 2008 as net revenues improved by 35.1% over the same period last year.

ICON reported income from operations of US27.1 million for the three months ended 30 September 2008, while net revenues came in at US$225.5 million. The operating margin for the quarter widened from 11.2% to 12.0%. Net income was US$21.4 million or US$0.35 per diluted ordinary share, up by 47.4% and 45.8% respectively over the third quarter of 2007.

Chairman Dr John Climax noted that net revenues and operating profits in the first nine months of 2008, at US$645.1 million (+43.4% versus the year to September 2007) and US$73.0 million (+47.7%) respectively, already exceeded those achieved for the whole of last year. Year-to-date new-business bookings of more than US$1 billion were also ahead of the full-year tally for 2007.

“ICON’s strategy of listening to its customers and delivering the services they need, where and when they need them, continues to be validated,” commented chief executive officer Peter Gray. “With net new business awarded in the quarter of US$350 million and our backlog now at over US$1.74 billion, we are confident in the outlook for the remainder of 2008 and view 2009 with optimism.”