UNITED Drug, the international healthcare provider, which turned in an operating profit of €84.4m last year, has estimated a further improvement of 5pc to 8pc in its trading performance up to September 2013.
In an interim management statement, the company said that group revenues for the three months to December 31 were ahead of the same period in the previous year and underlined the fact that most of its growth continued to come from outside of Ireland, with overseas now accounting for 70pc of profits.
The company is to pay a dividend of 9.04c, with its recently published annual report indicating a revenue increase of 5pc to €1.8bn in 2012.
United Drug says it expects constant currency-adjusted diluted EPS growth this year of 5-8pc before non-recurring costs associated with acquisition activity and restructuring.
Strong performances in Q1 sales were outlined, with revenues strong in its marketing and medical division and its healthcare supply chain division.
Profits were ahead of expectation in wholesale for both the Republic and Northern Ireland, thanks to market-share breakthroughs which have helped to offset the effects of austerity. The company's US Sharp business was also going well.
On the downside, however, its pharmaceutical 'specials' business in the UK continued to be impacted adversely by a drug tariff on popular products, while European operations were also behind.
The statement added: "The European business is in the process of being rebranded to maximise cross-selling opportunities between the US and Europe and leverage the strong equity of our existing brand.
"We are reviewing the optimal infrastructure configuration required to support the long-term growth of the European business"
The company also commented on the absorption of its five 2012 acquisitions. It said the integration of Pharmexx was now nearing completion, while Watermeadow, Drug Safety Alliance and Synopia had already been integrated well and were trading strongly.
The company added that it had been making progress on plans to crack the Japanese market with the establishment of a joint trading arrangement.