Maryland company's earnings rise 149%

MedImmune Inc. reports big 4th-quarter increase

January 27, 2000|By Amanda J. Crawford | Amanda J. Crawford,SUN STAFF

MedImmune Inc., the fast-growing Gaithersburg biotechnology company, more than doubled its net earnings in the fourth quarter, excluding one-time charges, the company said yesterday.

MedImmune's net earnings increased 149 percent to $49.4 million, or 69 cents per diluted share, excluding charges associated with the acquisition of U.S. Bioscience Inc., from $19.8 million, or 30 cents per diluted share, in 1998.

Including the charges, net earnings for the quarter were $34.2 million, or 47 cents per diluted share, down from $69.3 million, or $1.02 per diluted share, in 1998.

Revenue for the quarter was up 55 percent to $173.7 million, from $112.0 million in 1998.

"They had a very solid quarter," said William Tanner, vice president for equity research for investment banking firm S. G. Cowen Securities Corp. in Boston.

Tanner said the company's revenue was better than the $147.5 million he had expected.

For the year, MedImmune reported revenue of $383.4 million, up 69 percent from $227.2 million in 1998.

Net earnings for the year, excluding one-time charges, were $68.7 million, or 98 cents per diluted share, up from $7.3 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, in 1998.

Including the one-time charges, net earnings for the year were $93.4 million, or $1.33 per diluted share, up from $47.2 million, or 73 cents per diluted share, in 1998.

Dr. Wayne T. Hockmeyer, MedImmune's chairman and chief executive officer, called 1999 "a year of tremendous growth for MedImmune."

"We posted another record year of revenues and earnings, due primarily to the growing acceptance of Synagis in the marketplace," he said.

Sales of Synagis, an antibody used to prevent respiratory infections in premature babies, were up 63 percent in the fourth quarter to $151.1 million from $92.8 million a year earlier. For the year, the drug accounted for $293 million in revenue, up from $110 million in 1998.

"From a global perspective, it's a stock that has been a good performer in the biotechnology sector," Tanner said. "With the numbers they put out today, we think the stock will continue to perform well."

MedImmune's earnings were announced after the stock markets closed yesterday.

Shares of the company gained $6.5625 to finish at $166.0625.

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