By Dow Jones Business News, October 31, 2013, 07:15:00 AM EDT
AmerisourceBergen Corp.'s ( ABC ) fiscal fourth-quarter earnings declined sharply, despite the drug wholesaler's strong
revenue growth, on expenses related to its alliance with Walgreen Co. (WAG) and Alliance Boots GmbH.
AmerisourceBergen formed the alliance with the U.S. drug-store chain and U.K. drug wholesaler earlier this year.
Recently, rival McKesson Corp. (MCK), the largest U.S. drug distributor by revenue, confirmed its offer for German
pharmacy giant Celesio AG (CLS1.XE). Such alliances aim to provide the drug wholesalers with greater purchasing power in
negotiations with major drug makers.
For the recently started fiscal year, the company forecast per-share earnings of $3.60 to $3.73 and revenue growth of
28% to 31%. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters most recently expected per-share profit of $3.68 and revenue growth of
Chief Executive Steven H. Collis said that in the latest quarter AmerisourceBergen "delivered strong results and
successfully implemented the first phase of our new expanded contract with Walgreen."
For the period ended Sept. 30, AmerisourceBergen reported a profit of $51 million, or 22 cents a share, down from $
163.5 million, or 66 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding inventory-accounting impacts, gains from antitrust
litigation settlements and other items, adjusted earnings were up at 79 cents a share from 77 cents. Revenue increased
28% to $24.47 billion.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters recently expected per-share profit of 74 cents and revenue of $23.96 billion.
Operating expenses were up 2%, mostly the results of expenses related to the new Walgreens business.
Pharmaceutical distribution revenue climbed 29% to $24.1 billion.
Shares closed Wednesday at $65.22 and were inactive in recent premarket trading. Through Wednesday's close, the stock
is up 51%.
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