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IN SPITE OF CURRENCY DEVALUATIONS, THE ARES-SERONO GROUP INCREASES NET PROFIT MARGINS

    BOSTON, and GENEVA, Switzerland, Aug. 13 /PRNewswire/ --
    Sales increase 2.1 percent in real terms
    The Ares-Serono Group announced today that its worldwide sales increased 2.1 percent in real terms for the first half of 1993.  Sales for the period totaled US $376.8 million compared with $415.0 million for the same period in 1992, as exchange rates continued to have an unfavorable effect.
    Net income grows in 1993 compared to 1992
    Income from continuing operations as a percentage of sales increased to 10.4 percent compared to 9.3 percent in the first six months of 1992. In absolute terms, income from continuing operations totaled $39.1 million in comparison to $38.6 million in 1992.
    Cost-containment creates increase in profits
    "In response to the changes affecting healthcare systems worldwide, Ares-Serono is implementing an on-going global cost containment program. The company's rapid response and commitment to this program is having a positive result on our market shares and net margins," said Fabio Bertarelli, chief executive officer of The Ares-Serono Group.
    Pharmaceuticals increase 3 percent in real terms
    Year-to-date ethical pharmaceutical sales went up 3.0 percent in real terms.  This progression was achieved despite a general price decrease for all pharmaceutical products marketed in several European countries.  After adjusting for currency effects, first half sales totaled $330.8 million compared with $363.8 million during the same period last year.
    In Italy, Ares-Serono partially offset price reductions by increasing its market share in its major product lines.  In addition, sales growth in local currencies was particularly strong in Spain (26.1 percent), the United Kingdom (36.7 percent), the Scandinavian countries (94.2 percent) and in Latin America (58.6 percent).
    Diagnostics reach break-even at operational income
    The Diagnostics division reached the break-even point at operational level for the six months of 1993.  First-half sales totaled $46.0 million compared with $51.3 million.  The decrease resulted from a rationalization of the product line to improve the operating margin.  On a constant currency basis, sales of the SR-1(R) instruments and reagents increased by 18 percent compared to 1992.
    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.
    The following is a summary of unaudited comparative results prepared in accordance with International Accounting Standards (I.A.S.).
             SUMMARY OF UNAUDITED COMPARATIVE RESULTS
                                   Three Months Ended June 30,
                                   1993                   1992
                             (all amounts in thousands U.S. dollars)
    NET SALES
    Ethical Pharmaceuticals      $173,169               $191,438
    Diagnostics                    23,083                 25,566
    TOTAL SALES                   196,252                217,004
    Operating Income               39,058                 45,710
    Pre-tax income from
     continuing operations
     before minority interests     31,374                 34,513
    Income from continuing
     operations                    22,199                 22,048
    Discontinued operations             0                      0
    NET INCOME                     22,199                 22,048
               SUMMARY OF UNAUDITED COMPARATIVE RESULTS
                                    Six Months Ended June 30,
                                   1993                   1992
                             (all amounts in thousands U.S. dollars)
    NET SALES
    Ethical Pharmaceuticals      $330,839               $363,773
    Diagnostics                    45,983                 51,260
    TOTAL SALES                   376,822                415,033
    Operating Income               74,480                 83,784
    Pre-tax income from
     continuing operations
     before minority interests     56,097                 60,548
    Income from continuing
     operations                    39,083                 38,635
    NOTE:  1992 net income increased $28.099 million for discontinued operations (not reported here)
    -0-             08/13/93
    CONTACT:  Gina Cella of Ares-Serono, Inc., 617-982-9000 CO:  ARES-SERONO, INC. IN:  MTC SU:  ERN ST:  MA


-- NE002 -- X593 08/13/93
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 13, 1993
Words:600
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