Express Scripts ( ESRX) after the bell Monday announced that it now expects 2006 earnings of $3.10 to $3.22 a share, including 10 cents in stock option expenses. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call project 2006 earnings of $2.98 a share. The pharmacy benefit manager said its financial performance will benefit from growth in generic utilization and home delivery, lower retail and home delivery costs, and increased productivity and other cost management plans. The company's shares gained $2.49, or 3.1%, to $82.38 in after-hours trading. Applebee's International ( APPB) reported a 0.7% increase in systemwide same-store sales for the November period. Franchise-owned restaurants saw same-store sales rise 1.4%, while same-store sales for company restaurants fell 1.4% amid a decrease in guest traffic. The casual-dining chain said its Midwest and New England markets continued to be weak. The stock was down a penny to $23.28 in after-hours trading. Inter Parfums ( IPAR) announced its 2006 guidance after the bell Monday. The perfume and cosmetics maker said it expects to earn $16.9 million, or 83 cents a share, on sales of $301 million, for the year. The guidance includes about 3 cents a share in costs from stock-options expensing. Analysts on average predict 2006 earnings of 80 cents a share and sales of $305 million. "We are looking for earnings to increase at a faster rate than sales and for 2006 to be a record year for profits as well as sales for Inter Parfums," Jean Madar, chairman and CEO, said in a statement. Inter Parfums shares rose 32 cents, or 2.1%, to $15.75 in after-hours trading. ViroPharma ( VPHM) announced a 7 million-share public stock offering. Underwriters will have a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 1 million shares. The drug company said the proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes. The stock fell $1.34, or 7.9%, to $15.66 after hours.
Dendreon ( DNDN) also dropped after hours upon news of a stock offering. The biotechnology company plans to offer 10 million shares, with underwriters having the option to buy up to 1.5 million additional shares. Dendreon shares fell 38 cents, or 6.4%, to $5.52. Syntroleum ( SYNM) said it signed an agreement with Britania-U Nigeria Ltd., an oil and gas company, to acquire a 40% interest in an oil discovery in Nigeria's Ajapa Field. Syntroleum said that Ajapa Field could contain 15 million to 70 million barrels of gross oil; the company will undertake an appraisal drilling program to confirm the reserve and production potential of the field. "While there is additional appraisal work to be done to confirm commerciality, we look forward to implementing successful oil development of this field," Jack Holmes, president and CEO, said in a statement. Syntroleum rose 40 cents, or 5.1%, to $8.26 in after-hours trading. Philadelphia Consolidated Holding ( PHLY) said it anticipates a loss of about $5.5 million related to Hurricane Wilma, which affected the company's commercial and personal lines books of business. The company also said it will recognize a $2.4 million accelerated and reinstatement reinsurance premium expense, as a result of certain catastrophic reinsurance coverage. The stock was down 14 cents to $97.66 in after-hours trading. Landauer's ( LDR) board increased its quarterly cash dividend 6% to 45 cents. The dividend will be paid on Jan. 6 to shareholders of record as of Dec. 16. The move will boost the company's annual dividend to $1.80 to $1.70. The stock was unchanged at $48.75 after hours. ConocoPhillips ( COP) said it has signed an agreement with K&G Petroleum to convert 50 former British Petroleum ( BP) branded stations to the ConocoPhillips brand in the Denver metro area. "Denver has been and will continue to be an important core growth area for ConocoPhillips," said Clayton Reasor, president of U.S. marketing for ConocoPhillips. The station conversions are expected to be completed by early 2006. The stock was up 2 cents to $61.75.