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THE ARES-SERONO GROUP REPORTS SALES AND EARNINGS FOR THE FIRST QUARTER OF 1993

 BOSTON and GENEVA, SWITZERLAND, May 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ares- Serono Group today reported worldwide sales of $180.6 million for the first quarter ending March 31, 1993, compared to $198.0 million for the same period last year, a decrease of 8.8 percent. Excluding unfavorable currency fluctuations, actual sales for the first quarter increased by 3.0 percent.
 Operating income amounted to $35.4 million compared to $38.1 million in 1992 and reflects an improvement of the operating margin despite a decrease in sales. Income from continuing operations increased by 1.9 percent to $16.9 million or $4.51 per share compared to $16.6 million or $4.43 in 1992. Net income for the first quarter of 1993 totaled $16.9 million ($4.51 per share) compared to $44.7 million or $11.93 per share in 1992, which included the gain on the sale of the OTC operation (28.1 million) in March 1992.
 "The pharmaceutical industry is being severely impacted worldwide by a variety of economic measures which are, in part, reducing healthcare assistance to the patient," said Fabio Bertarelli, chief executive officer of The Ares-Serono Group. "By reacting quickly and implementing an aggressive, global cost-containment program, we have succeeded in improving our operating margins from 19.2 percent of sales in 1992 to 19.6 percent for the first quarter of 1993."
 First quarter pharmaceutical sales were $157.7 million compared to $172.3 million during the same period last year, a decrease of 8.5 percent. However, after adjusting for currency effects, actual sales of pharmaceutical products increased by 3.7 percent.
 In Italy, Ares-Serono's largest market, the company increased its market share, while sales remained almost flat in the local currency. This is in contrast to the sharp decline recorded by the Italian pharmaceutical industry during the first quarter of 1993 as a result of government measures to reduce healthcare costs. Translated into U.S. dollars, Ares-Serono sales in Italy decreased by 21.8 percent while the Italian lira was devalued by 27 percent during the first quarter.
 In Spain, Ares-Serono's second-largest European subsidiary recorded sales growth of 23.1 percent in U.S. dollars or 40.2 percent in pesetas. Sales in Germany increased by 7.9 percent, despite imposed price reductions on pharmaceutical products and the negative impact from the country's healthcare reforms on the industry.
 During the first quarter of 1993, sales of the Group's diagnostic division were $22.9 million compared to $25.7 million a year earlier. Sales of reagents for the SR-1(R) instruments increased by 30 percent in constant dollars. The overall decrease was mainly due to the devaluation of the Italian lira.
 Major developments for The Ares-Serono Group in the first quarter of 1993 included:
 -- The approval of 19 additional registrations worldwide.
 -- A favorable recommendation by the CPMP (Committee for Proprietary Medicinal Products) for the registration, in European countries, of Metrodin HP(R), a highly-purified follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Because of its extremely high purity, Metrodin HP can be administered by subcutaneous injection, a significant patient advantage over current products.
 -- Appeal of a decision, granted by the Court of Appeals in The Hague, refusing to grant Ares-Serono a summary injunction against Organon International B.V. for infringement of its original patent for recombinant follicle stimulating hormone (r-FSH) granted by the European Patent Office on August 12, 1992.
 In similar legal action by Ares-Serono to defend its patents in the U.S., Organon indicated that it had withdrawn or destroyed the r-FSH and r-FSH-related materials it then had in the U.S. and was no longer "engaged in any additional activities relating to the importation, manufacture, use or sale of r-FSH or host cells to produce r-FSH in the U.S."
 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.
 On the following page is a summary of unaudited comparative results prepared in accordance with International Accounting Standards (I.A.S.).
 SUMMARY OF UNAUDITED COMPARATIVE RESULTS
 (prepared in accordance with International Accounting Standards)
 Three Months Ended
 March 31
 1993 1992
 (all amounts in thousands U.S. dollars
 except per share data)
 NET SALES
 Ethical Pharmaceutical $157,670 $172,335
 Diagnostics 22,900 25,694
 TOTAL SALES 180,570 198,029
 Operating Income 35,434 38,074
 Income from continuing
 operations before taxes
 and minority interests 24,739 26,035
 Income from continuing
 operations 16,901 16,587
 Net gain/income from
 discontinued operations --- 28,099
 NET INCOME 16,901 44,686
 Earnings per share from (a)
 *continuing operations 4.51 4.43
 *discontinued operations --- 7.50
 TOTAL EPS 4.51 11.93
 Number of Shares
 outstanding (a) 5,398,545 for all periods listed
 (a) Data per share are based upon the assumption that 2,645,285 bearer shares and 2,753,260 registered shares (total equivalent number of bearer shares 3,746,589), the number of shares outstanding after the 1:5 share split in 1992, were outstanding during all the periods presented.
 -0- 5/13/93
 /CONTACT: Gina Cella of Ares-Serono, Inc., 617-982-9000/


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

AK -- NE012 -- 8308 05/13/93 16:41 EDT
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Date:May 13, 1993
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