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THE ARES-SERONO GROUP REPORTS SALES AND EARNINGS FOR THE FIRST QUARTER OF 1992

 THE ARES-SERONO GROUP REPORTS SALES AND EARNINGS
 FOR THE FIRST QUARTER OF 1992
 BOSTON, May 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ares-Serono Group today reported worldwide sales of US$198.0 million for the first quarter ending March 31, 1992, compared to $171.4 million for the same period last year, an increase of 15.5 percent. Excluding unfavorable currency fluctuations, actual sales growth for the first quarter was 20.4 percent.
 Operating income increased by 18.3 percent in the first quarter of 1992 to $38.1 million compared to $32.2 million in 1991. Net income from continuing operations increased 25.0 percent to $16.6 million, or $30.51 per share compared to $13.3 million or $24.41 per share in 1991. Net income for the period, including the extraordinary revenue from the sale of the Group's over-the-counter division, totaled $44.7 million or $82.20 per share compared to $13.5 million or $24.76 per share in 1991.
 Year-to-date pharmaceutical sales worldwide reached $172.3 million, an increase of 19.2 percent from $144.6 million during the same period last year. Sales growth in pharmaceutical products was 23.9 percent, after adjusting for currency effects. Sales of diagnostic products were $25.7 million, compared to $26.8 million a year earlier. Sales of over-the-counter products increased 8.1 percent to $5.4 million from $5.0 million in 1991.
 Pharmaceutical sales were particularly strong in the U.S., Germany, France and Japan. In addition, growth in each of the three main therapeutic fields continued, with infertility and pediatric endocrinology sales up more than 25 percent compared to the first quarter of 1991.
 Excluding clinical chemistry sales which are being discontinued in order to improve the division's gross margin, diagnostic sales increased 15 percent over the previous year. In particular, immunoassay sales, including SR-1(R) instruments and reagents, increased 22.5 percent compared to 1991.
 Following the sale of the OTC division, all revenues and expenses of this 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 quarters of 1992 and 1991 in the consolidated statement of earnings.
 Major developments for The Ares-Serono Group in the first quarter of 1992 included:
 -- The first human pregnancy obtained after treatment with Gonal-F, Ares-Serono's recombinant human follicle stimulating hormone (r-hFSH). This was achieved during a Phase III multicenter clinical trial at the Fertility Unit of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV) in Lausanne, Switzerland.
 -- The acquisition, for US$36.4 million in lieu of future royalty payments, of the technology rights relating to the recombinant Gonadotropins and Human Growth Hormone Projects. The rights belonged to Serono Pharmaceutical Partners, a limited partnership based in Massachusetts.
 -- An agreement with Chiesi Farmaceutici, Parma, Italy, to acquire the exclusive rights to market Curosurf(R) in 15 European countries, except Italy. Curosurf is a natural surfactant used for the treatment of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), the number one cause of death and disability among premature infants.
 -- On March 31, 1992, the sale of our OTC (over-the-counter) division to Home Products Italiana S.p.A., the Italian subsidiary of American Home Products. Our OTC division operated exclusively in Italy where it ranked among the Top 10 OTC companies. The OTC division accounted for less than 3 percent of Ares-Serono's total sales.
 The Ares-Serono Group is a leading Swiss 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.
 Following is a summary of unaudited comparative results prepared in accordance with International Accounting Standards (I.A.S.).
 THE ARES-SERONO GROUP
 Summary of Unaudited Comparative results


(all amounts in thousands U.S. dollars except per share data)
 Three Months Ended
 March 31,
 1992 1991
 Net sales:
 Ethical pharmaceuticals $172,335 $144,594
 Diagnostics 25,694 26,805
 Total sales 198,029 171,399
 Operating income 38,074 32,180
 Income from continuing
 operations before income
 taxes and minority interests 26,305 20,962
 Net income from
 continuing operations 16,587 13,271
 Discontinued operations 28,099 186
 Net income 44,686 13,457
 Earnings per share from-(a):

 -continued operations 30.51 24.41
 -discontinued operations 51.69 0.35
 Total EPS 82.20 24.76
 Number of shares
 outstanding-(a) 1,044,798 for all periods listed
 ---
 Note (a)-Data per share based on 209,468 Bearer Shares and 835,330 Registered Shares (total equivalent number of Bearer Shares 543,600).
 -0- 5/18/92
 /CONTACT: Gina Cella of The Ares-Serono Group, 617-982-9000, x251/ CO: The Ares-Serono Group ST: Massachusetts IN: MTC SU: ERN


DD-SD -- NE010 -- 1231 05/18/92 10:35 EDT
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