(Recasts; adds details, share movement)
Feb 11 (Reuters) - Charles River Laboratories International Inc (CRL.N) beat Wall Street forecasts with an 18 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit, helped by strong sales growth in two of its key business segments, and maintained its 2008 outlook.
The preclinical drug-testing services company said sales at its Research Models and Services segment grew about 14 percent, while the Preclinical Services segment — which provides early-stage drug development services — reported a 20 percent rise in net sales during the fourth quarter.
The company said its fourth-quarter earnings were $45.9 million, or 65 cents a share, excluding items, compared with $39.0 million, or 58 cents a share, before items, a year ago. Net sales rose to $318.0 million from $271.7 million.
Analysts on average were expecting the company to earn 63 cents a share, excluding items, on revenue of $308.6 million, according to Reuters Estimates.
The company said it still sees 2008 earnings of $2.87 to $2.97 a share, excluding items, on net sales growth of 10 percent to 13 percent.
Analysts expect earnings of $2.95 a share on revenue of $1.36 billion.
Shares of the company, based in Wilmington, Massachusetts, fell to $64.25 in after-hours trading, after closing up $1.46 at $64.72 on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan in Bangalore; Editing by Pratish Narayanan)
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