ICON, the international contract research organisation (CRO) based in Dublin, Ireland, has lowered its revenue guidance for 2008 but raised its forecast for earnings per diluted share (EPS).

Citing “currency factors”, ICON said its net revenues for the year ended 31 December 2008 were now expected to be US$862 million to US$865 million. This compares with the forecast of US$870-US$890 million given last July when ICON announced its second-quarter results.

The revised EPS guidance for 2008 is US$1.27-US$1.29. At the second-quarter stage, ICON was forecasting net income per diluted share of US$2.46-US$2.52. In August, however, the CRO completed a bonus issue of ordinary shares equivalent to a 2-for-1 stock split. This effectively halved the EPS forecast from July to US$1.23-US$1.26 per share.

ICON has also issued financial guidance for 2009, forecasting net revenue in the range of US$930-US$980 million and diluted EPS of US$1.40-US$1.52.

According to Thomson Reuters, analysts were expecting ICON to record EPS of US$1.28 for 2008 on revenues of US$872.8 million. For 2009, the analysts were projecting EPS of US$1.55 on revenues of US$1.03 billion.

Beacon Bioscience mopped up

In addition, ICON said it had completed the acquisition – for an undisclosed sum – of the 30% it did not already own of Beacon Bioscience, a CRO based in the US and specialising in medical imaging.

In July 2004, ICON agreed to acquire a 70% stake in Beacon Bioscience, which focused on the centralised management, processing and reading of digitised medical images generated in clinical trials, for US$9.9 million in cash. Beacon was renamed ICON Medical Imaging in 2007.

“Medical imaging is playing an ever-increasing role in the development of new drugs and treatments,” noted Peter Gray, ICON’s chief executive officer. “Through technology innovation, astute business management and a team of highly skilled industry experts, ICON Medical Imaging has become a leader in its field. We believe that now is the right time to complete the acquisition of the remaining stake in the business.”