QuintilesIMS Holdings Inc. reported net earnings Wednesday of $99.1 million, down 10.9 percent from the third quarter last year.

Its per-share earnings were 83 cents, missing analysts’ average expectations of 99 cents per share by 16 percent.

Its opening stock price fell 1.5 percent Wednesday to $70.88, but grew more than $3, or roughly 4 percent, during the first 30 minutes of trading.

The company is the result of a recently completed merger between Quintiles Transnational Holdings Inc. and IMS Health Holdings Inc. The companies reported separate third quarter results.

And one of its first acts is a plan to repurchase $1.5 billion worth of shares by the end of 2017, according to the company’s release. The board of the pharmaceuticals research firm agreed to the buy back Tuesday, although it doesn’t provide a reason.

Quintiles IMS reported revenues of $1.5 billion, up 5.1 percent from the same quarter last year. IMS alone reported increased revenue of $791 million, up 7.5 percent.

“Quintiles delivered solid earnings with superior revenue growth in Product Development,” Ari Bousbib, QuintilesIMS chairman and chief executive officer, said in the release.

Product development revenue grew to $874.3 million by 7.9 percent. That yielded development income of $206.9 million, a 14.1 percent increase from last year.

Bousbib added, “As we execute on our integration plans, we have visibility to additional cost reduction opportunities.”

The combined company expects the merger will propel operating cost savings to $200 million by 2019, double that of the same period last year. This quarter, the company saw operating cash more than double to $412.9 million.

Note: This story is from the North Carolina Business News Wire, a service of UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media and Journalism