AmerisourceBergen Corp. unveiled a new $1 billion stock-buyback plan as it closed its fiscal year with a rise in quarterly revenue.

Still, the company did temper its new-year growth expectations to slightly below consensus views, citing "uncertainty around drug-pricing trends." Big drug wholesalers have recently signaled that a price war has broken out in the industry, and analysts have said AmerisourceBergen in particular has been moving to grow its market share among independent pharmacies.

For the coming fiscal year, the company expects, on an adjusted basis, revenue to climb 6.5% to 8%, up from the $146.8 billion posted in the 2016 fiscal year. Analystsexpect revenue to rise 8%. The company forecast adjusted earnings per share between $5.63 and $5.88, while analysts project $5.82.

AmerisourceBergen also expects earnings in the December quarter to be "several cents lower" than the $1.27 posted in the prior year and for the March quarter to be unchanged from the $1.68 it registered in 2016. Analysts expect $1.30 and $1.67, respectively.

Generally, the company said it expects to remain under pressure from weaker generic pricing.

In the latest quarter, pharmaceutical distribution revenue grew 5.9% to $36 billion, and revenue in its other businesses increased 4.9% to $1.63 billion.

For the quarter ended Sept. 30, AmerisourceBergen reported a profit of $145.7 million, or 64 cents a share, down from $363.1 million, or $1.56 a share, a year earlier. Excluding certain items, adjusted per-share earnings rose to $1.30 from $1.16. Revenue increased 5.9% to $37.6 billion.

Analysts polled byThomson Reuters expected per-share profit of $1.22 and revenue of $37.85 billion.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, operating expenses rose to $899.7 million from $435.1 million a year earlier, mostly associated with an increased expense related to warrants.

For the fiscal year, the company posted earnings of $6.32 per share up from a loss of 63 cents a year earlier. Revenue rose 8% to $146.8 billion, meeting the company's projections. Adjusted earnings were $5.62, up from $4.94 and near the top of the company's guidance.

The Valley Forge, Pa., company's shares, down by a third so far this year, edged up 0.4% premarket.

Write to Ezequiel Minaya at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 02, 2016 09:45 ET (13:45 GMT)

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