Pharmaceutical services company


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reported better-than-expected third-quarter results on continuing merger-related synergies and an historically low interest rate.

The company earned $90.2 million, or 82 cents a share on a fully diluted basis, up from $31.5 million, or 57 cents a share, a year ago. On a pro forma basis excluding merger-related costs, the combined company earned $95.1 million, or 86 cents a share. AmeriSource Health Corporation and Bergen Brunswig merged on Aug. 29, 2001.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call had been expecting the company to earn 81 cents a share in the quarter on a pro forma basis.

Operating revenue, which excludes bulk deliveries to customer warehouses, was up to $10.3 billion from $3.5 billion last year, in line with the consensus estimates. Last year's revenue was $9 billion when adjusted to include both Amerisource and Bergen. The company's pharmaceutical segment operating revenue was up to $10.1 billion from $3.5 billion, while operating income was $169.1 million.

For the fourth quarter, AmerisourceBergen expects to earn 83 cents to 85 cents a share on a pro forma basis. For the year, the company expects $3.24 to $3.26 a share, up from previous guidance of $3.15. Analysts are looking for 83 cents and $3.18, respectively.

Shares of AmerisourceBergen closed at $69.55 Tuesday before the news.