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Parexel brightens 2013 outlook after strong quarter

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CEO Josef von Rickenbach

CRO giant Parexel International ($PRXL) brought in $442.1 million in revenue last quarter, good for a 26.7% year-over-year jump and enough to push the company's projected fiscal 2013 sales up about $20 million.

Clinical research services, Parexel's largest business segment, grew 22.7% to $320.6 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2013 that ended Dec. 31, while Perceptive Informatics jumped 10.1% to $52.2 million and the company's consulting and communications unit pulled in $49.3 million, notching 22% growth.

Parexel credits a spate of projects that came in ahead of schedule, including its $72 million buy of Liquent, which closed in December. The only downside to quick scale-up is that it requires hiring a bunch of costly contract staff members, CEO Josef von Rickenbach said in a statement, and paying those contractors took a bite out of gross margins. In the long term, von Rickenbach expects Parexel to convert many of those high-cost contractors into full-time workers.

"We believe that our backlog will continue to fuel revenue growth in the third quarter and beyond, and that we will continue to drive higher backlog conversion rates," von Rickenbach said. "We expect that our successful execution of client projects, as well as efficiency initiatives being worked on by our businesses, will enable us to drive profitable growth and thereby increase shareholder value."

- read Parexel's results

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