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UPDATE 1-Quintiles raises forecast as new business jumps 29 pct

Thursday, 31 Oct 2013 | 6:56 AM ET

* Raises 2013 profit forecast to $2.03-$2.09/share from $1.95-$2.05

* Third-quarter adjusted earnings $0.54/share vs est. $0.50

* Net new business wins rise 29 pct in third quarter

Oct 31 (Reuters) - Quintiles Transnational Holdings Inc , the world's largest medical contract research provider, raised its full-year earnings forecast after reporting a higher-than-expected quarterly profit due to more contract wins.

The company said net new business wins, which include signed contracts, letters of intent and pre-contract commitments, rose 29 percent to more than $1.3 billion in the third quarter ended Sept. 30.

"We continue to gain market share as reflected in the strength of our net new business and the largest backlog in the industry," Chief Executive Officer Tom Pike said in a statement on Thursday.

Contract research companies were hit by the economic downturn in 2008 and by a wave of patent expirations, which caused drugmakers to tighten spending on drug development.

However, spending by pharmaceutical companies has picked up and they are increasingly outsourcing research to cut costs.

Quintiles' competitors Covance Inc and Charles River Laboratories International Inc reported better-than-expected results on Tuesday and raised their full-year forecasts due to strong demand for their services.

Parexel International Corp, however, said it struggled to win new contracts in its first quarter, blaming a "particularly competitive" environment in gaining business from small and emerging biopharmaceutical companies.

Quintiles raised its earnings forecast to $2.03 to $2.09 per share from $1.95 to $2.05.

The company, however, narrowed its full-year services revenue forecast to $3.77 billion-$3.80 billion from $3.76 billion-$3.81 billion.

Quintiles, which reported results for the second time since going public in May, said services revenue rose 2 percent to $932.7 million in the third quarter, driven by the contract research business.

Total revenue was flat at $1.2 billion.

Net income attributable to Quintiles rose to $66.8 million, or 50 cents per share, from $52.1 million, or 44 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned 54 cents per share.

Analysts on average expected 50 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Quintiles shares closed at $43.38 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.