AmerisourceBergen Corp. said today it expects earnings in the current quarter to be several cents above analysts' consensus estimate of 43 cents a share.

The Chesterbrook company attributed the performance for its fiscal first quarter, which ends this month, to expected revenue growth of 10 percent compared with last year's quarter and the sale of generic pharmaceuticals.

Because of the strong first quarter, Amerisource also forecast earnings for all of fiscal 2010 to be at the higher end of its previous guidance of $1.82 to $1.92 per share. That range represents growth of 8 percent to 14 percent from the $1.69 earnings per share reported from continuing operations in fiscal 2009, which ended in September.

The earnings projection is based on anticipated revenue growth 5 percent to 7 percent, and an operating profit margin that will be between flat and a small increase. The company also said it expects to buy back $350 million of its common stock in fiscal 2010. In noon trading today the shares were up 68 cents to $25.68.

AmerisourceBergen is a pharmaceutical-distribution company, with revenue in the last fiscal year of $71.8 billion.    - Paul Schweizer