Bumper year at AMRI as contract business marches on

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Albany Molecular Research Inc (AMRI) faced a “challenging headwind” as 2008 drew to a close but still managed to boost its revenues by 19 per cent to $56.4m in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Chief executive Thomas D’Ambra said the results were a “positive return on our recent investment in talent, technologies, geographic diversity and sales initiatives​,” adding that the 20 per cent hike in AMRI’s contract business is an acceleration over previous years, which have typically grown at a rate of around 10 per cent.

AMRI’s splits its contract activities cover Discovery Services, Development and Small-scale Manufacturing, and Large-scale Manufacturing.

The star turn in the fourth quarter came from Large-scale Manufacturing, with revenues up 32 per cent year-on-year to $23.3m albeit with a significant contribution from an unnamed product which is gearing up for a potential launch.

Development and Small-scale Manufacturing saw its sales advances 16 per cent to $13.2m, driven by demand for development analytical services and strong growth at AMRI’s Indian unit in Hyderabad. However, AMRI joined many of its peers by reporting signs of softness in this sector at the tail end of the fourth quarter.

Finally, Discovery Services was also on the up, rising 13 per cent to $13.1m. However, a “difficult​” performance in Europe was buoyed by double-digit growth at AMRI’s medicinal chemistry groups in the US and particularly Singapore, which benefited from the completion of a 10,000 sq. ft. expansion which doubled its capacity and added in vitro​ biology capabilities.

For the full-year, revenues came in at $229m-$195m from the contract business - while operating income doubled to reach $28m. AMRI also booked $28m from royalties on Allegra/Telfast (fexofenadine), an antihistamine sold by Sanofi-Aventis but now suffering generic competition, and $5.5m from its biogenic amine reuptake inhibitor licensing deal with Bristol-Myers Squibb.

In 2009,AMRI expects total revenues between $197m and $207m, up 6 per cent from last year.

AMRI is looking at investing $25m to $30m during 2009 as it completes in-process expansions at its plants in Bothell, Washington, and Budapest, Hungary, as well as the start-up of a manufacturing facility in India.

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