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ARES-SERONO NINE MONTH RESULTS: LOCAL SALES LEVEL MAINTAINED; NEW PRODUCT ADVANCEMENTS

 NORWELL, Mass., and GENEVA, Switzerland, Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ --
 Sales Remain Stable In Local Currencies
 The Ares-Serono Group announced today that its worldwide sales for the first nine months of 1993, expressed in local currencies, reached the same level as that of last year. Consolidated in U.S. dollars, sales totaled $548.3 million compared with $629.4 million for the same period in 1992, reflecting devaluation of the Italian Lira (30.3 percent) and the Spanish Peseta (25.8 percent).
 Profit Margin Improves
 Income from continuing operations as a percentage of sales improved slightly to 9.7 percent compared to 9.5 percent in 1992. In absolute terms, income from continuing operations totaled $52.9 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 1993 compared to $59.7 million in 1992.
 Increased Market Share
 In Europe, Ares-Serono partially offset price reductions by increasing its market share in its major product lines. Unit sales of Ares-Serono's recombinant human growth hormone, Saizen(R), increased by 4.3 percent in the first nine months of 1993. Likewise, volume sales of Metrodin(R), follicle stimulating hormone used in infertility treatment, were up 24.9 percent. In local currencies, Ares-Serono's European pharmaceutical sales increased by 4.0 percent.
 These results were achieved despite government mandated price reductions imposed on most European countries, including a 15 percent price reduction on recombinant human growth hormone in Spain and a 4.5 percent price reduction on Serono's products in Italy, which are the company's largest European markets.
 In the United States, because infertility sales were delayed as patients hoped that treatment would be reimbursed under the new Clinton healthcare reform, nine months sales were down. However, normal sales growth resumed in September and is expected to continue throughout the rest of the year.
 In Japan, sales increased 17 percent led by a strong performance of Saizen, Ares-Serono's recombinant human growth hormone. Sales growth was also particularly strong in Latin America (51 percent).
 Successful Launch of Metrodin HP(R)
 The launch of Metrodin HP, the only highly purified follicle stimulating hormone preparation for the treatment of infertility, in several European markets, quickly proved successful. In Sweden, Metrodin HP has gained two-thirds of the market for all gonadotropin preparations a few months only after its introduction. In Germany, one month after its launch, Metrodin HP is already showing strong market penetration.
 Beta Interferon and Multiple Sclerosis
 In Europe, phase II/III clinical trials commenced with Rebif(TM), the company's recombinant human beta interferon, for the indication of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, named-patient basis sales of Rebif have been made in several countries for this indication. Rebif is already registered in Italy for certain viral and oncological indications.
 Fabio Bertarelli, chief executive officer of The Ares-Serono Group, commented, "In view of the tremendous potential of beta interferon in multiple sclerosis, we made the decision to substantially increase Ares- Serono's existing production capacity, and will therefore invest $120 million for additional production of recombinant beta interferon."
 The Ares-Serono Group is a leading Swiss developer and marketer of pharmaceutical and diagnostic products with executive headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The Group operates subsidiaries and manufacturing facilities in more than 20 countries. Shares of Ares-Serono S.A., the parent company of the Group, are traded on the major Swiss stock exchanges.
 SUMMARY OF UNAUDITED COMPARATIVE RESULTS
 Nine Months Ended
 Sept. 30
 1993 1992
 (all amounts in thousands U.S. dollars)
 NET SALES
 Ethical Pharmaceuticals 480,991 552,451
 Diagnostics 67,317 76,965
 TOTAL SALES 548,308 629,416
 Operating Income 101,800 127,186
 Pre-tax income from
 continuing operations
 before minority interests 71,662 93,413
 Income from continuing
 operations 52,942 59,721
 NOTE: In the first quarter of 1992, net income increased $28,099 million for discontinued operations (not reported here).
 -0- 11/18/93
 /CONTACT: Gina Cella of Ares-Serono, 617-982-9000/


CO: Ares-Serono, Inc. ST: Massachusetts IN: MTC SU: ERN

DJ-JL -- NE009 -- 6192 11/18/93 16:03 EST
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Date:Nov 18, 1993
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