Restructuring charges cut into ICON’s earnings for the second quarter ended 30 June, leaving operating income 16.5% lower at US$20.4 million despite a marginal improvement (+0.8%) in net revenues to US$220.0 million.

Without the one-time net charges of US$4.2 million, which were softened by government incentives and tax credits, the Dublin-based contract research organisation’s operating earnings would have jumped 20.2% over the second quarter of 2008, to US$29.3 million.

Diluted earnings per share (EPS) would have been 22.6% higher at US$0.38, whereas with the one-off charges included, they were static at US$0.31.

Describing its overall growth in margins, operating income and earnings during the quarter as “very encouraging”, ICON has lifted its revenue guidance for 2009 to US$880-US$900 million, compared with a range of
US$862-US$865 million forecast in January.

Diluted EPS, before one-time charges, are now expected to be US$1.38 to US$1.44, up from US$1.27-US$1.29 projected in January.

ICON said it had embarked on “a number of cost reduction steps” during the second quarter, running up gross restructuring costs of US$13.4 million. An offsetting credit from government incentive payments relating to prior reporting periods resulted in a net charge of US$8.9 million. Tax credits amounting to US$4.7 million further reduced the provision.