Analysts gave a thumbs up to PRA Health Sciences' first quarterly earnings report since the Raleigh pharmaceutical services company went public in November.
Wells Fargo analyst Tim Evans declared the quarter "a strong one" given that the company exceeded expectations for revenue, earnings per share and bookings.
John Kreger, an analyst at William Blair & Co., noted in a research note that the company's projection for 7 percent to 10 percent revenue growth this year, which would put revenue between $1.35 billion and $1.4 billion, was ahead of his projections. He called the fourth-quarter results a "solid first effort."
PRA shares closed Thursday at $28.04, up 20 cents. Prior to Thursday, the company's shares had risen 55 percent since it went public at $18 per share.
"We believe the stock's strength since the November IPO...largely anticipated the good performance," Evans wrote in a research note.
PRA reported after the markets closed Wednesday that revenue totaled $323.8 million, up 8 percent. If not for currency fluctuations, revenue would have risen 10 percent.
"I'm pleased to say our fourth-quarter results are very much in line with what we anticipated," CEO Colin Shannon said during a conference call with analysts.
PRA reported a loss in the fourth quarter of $22.8 million, or 45 cents per share, which the company said was driven by costs stemming from its initial public offering and paying down its debt. A year earlier it had posted a loss of $9.4 million, or 24 cents per share. Adjusted net income rose 35 percent to 35 cents per share.
PRA reported $388.4 million in net new business awards in the quarter.
"We are seeing a strong level of new business opportunities continuing into this year," Shannon said.
For the full year, PRA generated revenue of $1.27 billion in 2014 and a loss of $35.7 million, or 83 cents per share. Year-ago figures weren't directly comparable because of acquisitions but the company's enjoyed 10 percent organic revenue growth in 2014, said Chief Financial Officer Linda Baddour.