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PPD expands into Russia with purchase

Clinical research organization PPD is buying a Russian counterpart, expanding its reach into much of eastern Europe.

The Wilmington company on Thursday said it has signed an agreement to purchase InnoPharm, a CRO based in the western Russian province of Smolensk. In addition to its headquarters, InnoPharm has offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg and the Ukranian city of Kiev, PPD said.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter. Terms weren't disclosed.

Also, late Wednesday, PPD reported that fourth-quarter income dropped on higher costs, though the earnings figures met analysts' expectations.

The company said it earned $40.5 million, or 34 cents per diluted share, in the quarter. A year earlier, it earned $41.6 million, or 35 cents per share.

Revenue increased to $375 million from $326 million.

Cost increases largely came in the company's main drug-development business, which conducts clinical trials on drugs and medical devices. The cost of doing that work jumped to $169 million from $147 million.

Selling, general and administrative expenses also increased to $93 million, or 24.8 percent of revenue. A year prior, they were $74 million, or 22.7 percent of revenue.

Research expenses also increased thanks to work on the company's drug for high cholesterol levels.

The results were in line with the expectation of analysts polled by Thomson Financial, who forecast, on average, earnings per share of 34 cents. In early January, PPD gave guidance that said it would earn roughly that amount in the quarter.


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