IQVIA Holdings (NYSE:IQV), a leading provider of research and information services to the healthcare industry, reported its first-quarter results on Wednesday, May 2. Revenue growth continues to march forward at a modest pace thanks to organic demand and bolt-on acquisitions. When combined with management's focus on improving margins and buying back stock, adjusted earnings per share jumped by a healthy 19.6%. 

IQVIA Holdings Q1 results: The raw numbers

Metric

Q1 2018

Q1 2017

Year-Over-Year Change

Revenue

$2.56 billion

$2.36 billion 

8.6%

Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization

$547 million

$504 million

8.5%

Adjusted net income

$285 million

$264 million

8%

Adjusted earnings per share

$1.34

$1.12

19.6%

Data source: IQVIA Holdings.

Scientist in lab working with instruments

Image source: Getty Images.

What happened with IQVIA this quarter?

  • Total revenue of $2.56 billion came in higher than the top end of management's guidance range
  • Commercial solutions revenue grew 14.1% to $985 million. 
  • Research and development solutions revenue increased 8.1% to $1.365 billion.
  • Integrated engagement services revenue declined 9% $213 million.
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $547 million was also better than management had forecast.
  • While management is trying to downplay the use of the book-to-bill ratio when judging its quarterly results, this figure came in very strong at 1.26 for the period.
  • The research and development solutions backlog exceeded $15 billion at quarter-end.
  • The company bought back $86 million worth of shares during the quarter. The total authorization at quarter-end stood at $1.6 billion.

What management had to say

CEO Ari Bousbib called the company's first-quarter results "strong" and was pleased that IQVIA continues to execute at a high level. However, he also admitted that not every business line is where it needs to be: "Both our Commercial Solutions and Research & Development Solutions businesses exceeded our expectations; Integrated Engagement Services was in line with expectations, and we are committed to turning this business around."

Looking forward

CFO Mike McDonnell commented on the call with investors that he believes that the momentum will continue into the upcoming quarter. He shared the following guidance:

Metric Q2 2018 Guidance Range  Q2 2017 Actual Growth
Revenue $2.47 billion to $2.52 billion $2.36 billion 5% to 7%
Adjusted EBITDA $510 million to $530 million $467 million 9% to 14%
Adjusted EPS $1.17 to $1.24 $1.03 13% to 20%

Data source: IQVIA Holdings. 

McDonnell also decided to tweak IQVIA's full-year guidance based on the company's strong performance in the first quarter. Revenue is now expected to be $50 million higher. However, the company does not think the increased revenue will translate into higher profitability just yet. As a result, it simply reaffirmed adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EPS guidance.

Here's a review of what those numbers look like for the full year:

Metric 2018 Forecast  2017 Actual   Growth
Revenue $10.05 billion to $10.25 billion $9.70 billion 3% to 5%
Adjusted EBITDA $2.15 billion to $2.22 billion $2.01 billion 7% to 10%
Adjusted EPS $5.20 to $5.45 $4.55 14% to 20%

Data source: IQVIA Holdings. 

Overall, IQVIA's first-quarter results continue to prove that the company is capable of translating modest top-line growth into strong gains on the bottom line. With a full backlog of projects in the works and a huge buyback authorization in place, shareholders have every reason to believe that the company's strong profit growth can continue from here.

Brian Feroldi has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends IQVIA Holdings, Inc. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.