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Chiron Says It Will Beat Forecasts on Higher Sales

October 15, 2002|From Bloomberg News

Chiron Corp. said Monday that third-quarter profit, excluding acquisition costs, was higher than it had forecast as sales increased in all the biotechnology company's businesses.

The company said it earned 45 cents a share, excluding unspecified expenses. The average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson First Call is 32 cents. It posted earnings of 30 cents a share in the year-earlier period, which excluded takeover costs.

Chiron, based in Emeryville, Calif., makes vaccines, blood-screening tests and products based on human proteins, such as Betaseron for multiple sclerosis and Proleukin for cancer. The results exclude expenses related to Chiron's acquisition of Pathogenesis Corp. in 2000 and its purchase of a remaining stake in a joint venture, Chiron Behring, in 1998, company spokesman John Gallagher said.

"We're not sure if this is a one-quarter event or if it will continue," said Frank DiLorenzo, an analyst with Standard & Poor's Equity. "My assumption is the blood testing has done well, and I wouldn't be surprised if that's the main area of growth."

DiLorenzo rates Chiron shares "accumulate" and doesn't own the stock.

The biotechnology company also raised its 2002 earnings forecast to $1.25 to $1.30 a share, excluding acquisition costs, from $1.10 to $1.20 a share.

Chiron will present full financial results Oct. 23.

Chiron shares rose $1.64 to $40.19 on Nasdaq.

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