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THE ARES-SERONO GROUP REPORTS THIRD QUARTER AND NINE MONTHS SALES AND EARNINGS

              THE ARES-SERONO GROUP REPORTS THIRD QUARTER
                  AND NINE MONTHS SALES AND EARNINGS
    BOSTON, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ares-Serono Group reported worldwide sales of US $169.2 million for the third quarter ending Sept. 30, 1991, compared with $150.9 million for the same period last year, an increase of 12.2 percent.  Net income increased by 7.3 percent to $15.8 million or $29.11 per share, compared with $14.8 million or $27.14 per share in 1990.
    Worldwide sales for the nine months ending Sept. 30, 1991, rose 17.7 percent to $533.5 million, compared with $453.2 million during the same period in 1990.  Excluding unfavorable currency fluctuations, actual sales growth for the nine months was 18.6 percent.  Net income rose 5.8 percent to $47.4 million or $87.11 per share, compared with $44.8 million or $82.37 per share for the first nine months of 1990.
    Year-to-date prescription pharmaceuticals sales worldwide increased by 17.7 percent to $443.4 million from $376.6 million during the same period last year.  After adjusting for unfavorable currency effects, the growth in sales of pharmaceutical products was 18.5 percent.
    Sales growth for pharmaceuticals was positively impacted by the new oncological indications obtained during the last quarter of 1990 in Italy for Ares-Serono's native beta interferon, Frone(R), as well as the strong market penetration of Saizen(R), the recombinant human growth hormone, in most European markets.
    For the first nine months of 1991, sales of the Group's diagnostic products were $76.5 million, up 13.4 percent from $67.5 million, reflecting strong sales in the French, Italian and German markets, due in particular to sales of the SR-1(R), Ares-Serono's fully automated immunoassay diagnostic system.
    During the first nine months of 1991, sales of over-the-counter products increased by 50.4 percent to $13.6 million from $9.1 million.
    Major developments in the third quarter of 1991 include:
    -- The approval of six new drug registrations worldwide, bringing the total number to 46 in the first nine months of 1991.  This includes the registration of Frone and TP-1 in Mexico.
    -- An important new indir the SR-1, Ares-Serono's fully automated immunoassay system:  Progesterone used in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility, and Cortisol, a steroid hormone test, used to diagnose various clinical conditions.  The introduction of these tests brings the total number of tests for the SR-1 to 14.
    -- The opening of a representative office of The Ares-Serono Group in Moscow.
    -- The announcement at an international symposium that Interleukin-6 (IL-6), a genetically engineered molecule, developed by a subsidiary of The Ares-Serono Group, might provide relief for severe side effects associated with cancer therapy.  IL-6 is also under investigation for the treatment of certain types of cancer.
    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.
    The following is a summary of unaudited comparative results prepared  in accordance with International Accounting Standards (I.A.S.):
               SUMMARY OF UNAUDITED COMPARATIVE RESULTS
    (all amounts in thousands of U.S. dollars except per share data)
                       Three Months Ended         Nine Months Ended
                       9/30/91    9/30/90        9/30/91    9/30/90
    Net Sales
    Ethical
    Pharmaceuticals  $142,727   $124,603        $443,357   $376,628
    Diagnostics        23,003     22,652          76,536     67,508
    OTC                 3,512      3,639          13,629      9,062
    Total Sales       169,242    150,894         533,522    453,198
    Operating income   34,278     30,505         103,909     89,923
    Pre-tax income
     before
     minority interest 23,440     22,134          73,985     68,638
    Net income         15,826     14,752          47,355     44,777
    Earnings per
     share(a)           29.11      27.14           87.11      82.37
    Number of shares
     outstanding(a)      ------ 1,044,798 for all periods ----
    ----
    NOTE: (a) Data per share are based on 209,468 Bearer Shares and 835,330 Registered Shares (total equivalent number of Bearer Shares 543,600).
    -0-                      11/13/91
    /CONTACT: Gina Cella of Ares-Serono Group, 617-982-9000, ext. 251/ CO:  The Ares-Serono Group ST:  Massachusetts IN:  MTC SU:  ERN KM-DD -- NE004 -- 3837 11/13/91 10:10 EST
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Date:Nov 13, 1991
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