UPDATE 3-Amerisource profit tops views, raises FY forecast

* Q1 EPS 52 cents vs 46-cent estimate

* Sees FY EPS of $1.89-$1.98

* Sees FY rev growth of 7-8 pct

* Shares rise 3.1 pct
(Adds analyst comments, further details from results, byline)

By Lewis Krauskopf

NEW YORK, Jan 26 (BestGrowthStock) – Pharmaceutical wholesaler
AmerisourceBergen Corp (ABC.N: ) posted better-than-expected
quarterly profit and revenue on Tuesday, helped by new
business, generic drug launches and cost controls.

Amerisource, one of the three largest U.S. drug
distributors, also raised its fiscal-year targets, and its
shares rose 3.1 percent.

“Another stellar quarter from ABC,” Deutsche Bank analyst
Ross Muken said, pointing to new customer wins and sales of
generic drugs, which carry higher profit margins, as the main
reasons for the earnings beat.

Net income soared 36 percent to $151.3 million, or 52 cents
per share for the fiscal first quarter that ended in December.
That compared with $111.1 million, or 36 cents per share, a
year ago.

Analysts on average expected 46 cents per share, according
to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue jumped 11.5 percent to $19.34 billion, about $180
million ahead of estimates.

UBS analyst Steve Valiquette noted it was the first
quarterly double-digit revenue growth for the company “in
years.”

About half the growth came from newly won business, and the
company also attributed the revenue increases to overall
pharmaceutical market growth.

Despite the strong revenue growth, operating expenses rose
only 3 percent to $301 million. The cost controls helped its
operating profit margin rise to 1.36 percent from 1.14 percent
a year ago.

“Revenue and gross margin were slightly ahead of our
expectations, but the EPS beat was really driven by solid
expense control,” JP Morgan analyst Lisa Gill said in a
research note.

Amerisource raised its fiscal-year profit forecast to $1.89
to $1.98 per share, up from $1.82 to $1.92. Analysts expect
$1.94.

The Valley Forge, Pennsylvania-based company also boosted
its revenue forecast, which now calls for growth of 7 percent
to 8 percent.

In December, Amerisource said it expected its quarterly
earnings per share to be “several cents” above the consensus
estimate at the time of 43 cents.

Amerisource shares rose 83 cents to $27.94 in morning
trading on the New York Stock Exchange, exceeding an all-time
high set earlier this month. The shares have climbed 57 percent
since the start of 2009.

Shares of rivals Cardinal Health Inc (CAH.N: ) and McKesson
Corp (MCK.N: ), both due to report earnings this week, rose 0.3
percent and 0.1 percent respectively.

Stock Market

(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf, editing by Maureen Bavdek, Dave
Zimmerman)

UPDATE 3-Amerisource profit tops views, raises FY forecast