Earlier this year for example, New Jersey-based Covance reported a 46 per cent cut in preclinical operating income earlier this year, while rival contract research firm Charles River Laboratories suffered a 42 per cent drop in Q1 profits.
By contrast, Chiltern posted a 44 per cent revenue increase (15% of which was the benefit of acquisitions) in the 12 months to 31 March 2009 to £73.7m. This was actually an acceration from the previous year's 29 per cent rise from £39.7m to £51.2m.
Glenn Kerkhof, Chiltern's CEO, described the 2008-2009 financial year as "very successful" and commented that "Chiltern is emerging rapidly as a leading global clinical research organisation."
Explaining why the UK firm appears to be growing significantly faster than the sector average, Kerkhof said: "We provide global and high quality services to our clients at reasonable prices and in an era of uncertainty we are pleased that this is proving to be a very successful formula."
For the coming year, Chiltern expects to develop expertise across all its business units and to expand its geographic network. Despite what Kerkhof acknowledged are "difficult market conditions," he said: "we look forward to another year of progress.
Other financial highlights from Chiltern's results include:
¥ EBITDA of £9.5 million, up 57% over March 2008;
¥ Backlog grew 43% to £137 million at 31 March 2009, up from £93 million at 31 March 2008;
¥ New business awards of £116 million, 29% increase over March 2008;
¥ Operating cash flow of £8.6 million;
¥ Capital expenditure of £1.0 million mainly comprises investment in new systems and IT infrastructure;
¥ Largest client represented 10% of revenue; top 10 clients represent 48% of revenue. 84% of studies active at 31 March 2009 represent repeat business.