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THE ARES SERONO GROUP REPORTS SECOND QUARTER AND FIRST HALF 1992 RESULTS

THE ARES SERONO GROUP REPORTS SECOND QUARTER AND FIRST HALF 1992 RESULTS
 BOSTON, Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ares Serono Group today reported worldwide sales of US $217.0 million for the second quarter ending June 30, 1992, compared with $182.8 million for the same period last year, an increase of 18.7 percent. Income from continuing operations increased by 25.6 percent to $22.0 million or $29.42 per share, compared with $17.5 million or $23.42 per share in 1991.
 Worldwide sales for the six months ending June 30, 1992, rose 17.2 percent to $415.0 million, compared with $354.2 million during the same period in 1991. Excluding favorable currency fluctuations, actual sales growth for the first six months of 1992 was 16.9 percent.
 Income from continuing operations rose 25.4 percent to $38.6 million or $51.56 per share. This compares with $30.8 million or $41.13 per share for the first six months of 1991. Net income for the first six months of 1992, including the gain from the sale of the group's over- the-counter division, totaled $66.7 million or $89.06 per share compared with $31.5 million or $42.08 per share in 1991.
 Year-to-date ethical pharmaceutical sales worldwide increased by 21.0 percent to $363.8 million from $300.6 million during the same period last year. After adjusting for currency effects, the growth in sales of pharmaceutical products was 20.6 percent.
 Pharmaceutical sales were particularly strong in Italy, Germany and the United States. This increase was led by Metrodin(R), Ares-Serono's infertility drug, Frone(R), the company's native beta interferon, and by a strong performance of the pediactric endocrinology product group, which achieved a 33 percent sales increase during the first half of 1992.
 Sales of the group's diagnostic products were $51.3 million compared with $53.5 million during the same period in 1991. Excluding clinical chemistry sales which are being discontinued in order to improve the division's gross margin, diagnostic sales increased 9 percent over the previous period. Sales of the SR-1(R) instruments and reagents increased by 45 percent compared to 1991.
 Following the sale of the OTC division, all revenues and expenses of the OTC division have been segregated from continuing operations. The gain on disposal and the net result of the operations have been reclassified as a discontinued operation for the first half of 1992 and 1991 in the consolidated statement of earnings.
 Major developments for the Ares Serono Group in the second quarter of 1992 included:
 -- The registration in Spain of Frone, a native beta interferon.
 -- The registration on Japan of Saizen(R), a recombinant human
 growth hormone.
 -- First-time sales of diagnostic immunoassay products in China and
 Mexico, and of hematology analyzers in Brazil.
 -- The appointment by the board of directors of Hans Thierstein,
 Ernesto Bertarelli and Fabio Bertarelli as chairman
 of the board, vice chairman, and chief executive officer,
 respectively. In addition, Georges Muller, a Lausanne-based
 lawyer and professor of law at Lausanne University, was elected
 to the board of directors.
 -- The approval, by the shareholders of Ares Serono S.A., of the
 proposal submitted by the board of directors, including:
 A capital increase of SFr. 8,727,750 by the issue, at par value, of 34,911 new "B" bearer shares, with preferential subscription rights to the holders of bearer shares in the ratio of one new share for six old bearer shares. The holders of registered shares have renounced to their subscription rights.
 A second capital increase of SFr. 42,701,700 by the conversion of 284,678 "A" registered shares of SFr. 100.-nominal value each, into an equivalent number of "B" bearer shares of SFr. 250.- nominal value each by paying the difference in nominal value of SFr. 50.-
 The combined capital increases brought Ares-Serono's share capital to SFr. 187,329,450 from SFr. 135,900,000.
 A 1:5 split of both categories of the company's shares whose par value will be reduced from SFr. 100 to SFr. 20 for registered shares and from SFr. 250 or SFr. 50 for bearer shares. The split is expected to be made in September.
 The share capital will then include 2,753,260 restricted registered "A" shares of SFr. 20 par value and 2,645,285 bearer "B" shares of SFr. 50 par value.
 The Ares-Serono Group is a leading international developer and marketer of pharmaceutical and diagnostic products with executive headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and operating headquarters in Boston. 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 listed on the major Swiss stock exchanges.
 The following is a summary of unaudited comparative results prepared in accordance with International Accounting Standards (I.A.S.)
 THE ARES-SERONO GROUP
 Second Quarter and First Half Results 1992
 Summary of Unaudited Comparative Results
 (all amounts in U.S. dollars except per share data)
 Three Months Ended Six Months Ended
 June 30 June 30
 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Net Sales:
 Ethical
 pharmaceuticals $191,438 $156,036 $363,773 $300,630
 Diagnostics 25,566 26,728 51,260 53,533
 Total Sales 217,004 182,764 415,033 354,163
 Operating income 45,710 36,012 83,784 68,192
 Income from continuing
 operations before
 income taxes and
 minority interests 34,513 28,775 60,548 49,737
 Income from continuing
 operations 22,048 17,548 38,635 30,819
 Discontinued operations 0 524 28,099 710
 Net income 22,048 18,072 66,734 31,529
 Earnings per share from
 (a) continuing operations 29.42 23.42 51.56 41.13
 discontinued operations 0 0.70 37.50 0.95
 Total EPS 29.42 24.12 89.06 42.08
 Number of shares
 outstanding (a) 1,079,709 for all periods listed
 (a) Data per share are based upon the assumption that all number of shares outstanding after the June 22, 1992 capital increases were outstanding during all periods presented: 529,057 bearer shares, and 550,652 registered shares (total equivalent of bearer shares: 749,318).
 -0- 8/11/92
 /CONTACT: Gina Cella of Ares-Serono, 617-982-9000 ext. 251/ CO: Ares-Serono ST: IN: MTC SU: ERN


DH -- NE008 -- 8892 08/11/92 10:43 EDT
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Date:Aug 11, 1992
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