Icon 4th-quarter profit plummets as costs increase

Icon 4th-quarter profit shrinks 81 percent as company reports higher spending

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Icon PLC, which provides development services to drug and medical device makers, said Thursday its profit dropped 81 percent in the fourth quarter as its costs increased.

Icon said it earned $4.1 million, or 7 cents per share. A year ago it reported a profit of $22.1 million, or 36 cents per share. Revenue increased 5 percent, to $242.6 million from $232.1 million.

Analysts expected a profit of 8 cents per share and $251.6 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

The Dublin-based company said its total spending grew 12 percent, to $234 million, but did not detail what drove costs higher. It also said its backlog of business grew 19 percent from a year ago, to $2.3 billion at the end of the year.

Icon also promoted acting Chief Financial Officer Brendan Brennan to permanent CFO. Brennan has been with the company since 2006 and had been its vice president for corporate finance.

For all of 2011, Icon said its profit sank 64 percent, to $31.5 million, or 52 cents per share, from $87.1 million, or $1.44 per share in 2010. Revenue increased 5 percent, to $945.7 million from $900 million.

In 2012, the company expects to earn between 90 cents and $1.10 per share on revenue of $1.07 billion to $1.11 billion. On average, analysts are forecasting a profit of 98 cents per share and $1.11 billion in revenue.

Shares of Icon lost 52 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $20.26 in afternoon trading.

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