CHEMICAL EARNINGS PHARMACEUTICALS UNIT PUSHES FISONS' NET TO RECORD HIGH

CHEMICAL EARNINGS PHARMACEUTICALS UNIT PUSHES FISONS' NET TO RECORD HIGH

A strong advance in its pharmaceuticals division helped Fisons PLC, the British drugs, scientific and horticultural group, increase its 1987 pretax profits to a record 109 million (about $193 million) from 85.1 million in 1986.

The results announced Tuesday were well ahead of expectations, boosted by a 26 percent rise in earnings from pharmaceuticals to over 60 million.Fisons has done particularly well with its anti-asthma drug, Intal, sales of which rose by 60 percent in the United States last year. The drug is protected for at least the next two years by patents.

The company is also optimistic about work it is undertaking at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York to develop a preventive treatment for a form of pneumonia commonly associated with AIDS.

Earnings of Fisons' scientific equipment division increased by almost 4 million to 27 million. Part of the improvement came from Curtin Matheson Scientific further consolidating its position as number two in the U.S. clinical laboratory market.

Fisons reported a profit rise in its horticultural division of 600,000 to 8.6 million, and claimed good progress toward achieving its strategic objective of developing its value added business in North America.