Wednesday 21 November 2018

Norbrook rules out M&A as revenue and profits soar

Norbrook Laboratories chief executive Liam Nagle
Norbrook Laboratories chief executive Liam Nagle
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Northern Ireland veterinary medicines group Norbrook Laboratories does not intend pursing any acquisitions for at least a few years as it focuses on organic growth, according to CEO Liam Nagle.

Speaking to the Irish Independent as the Norbrook Holdings reported a surge in revenue and profits, Mr Nagle said the group is currently engaged in a £50m (€57m), multi-year capital investment programme.

More than £26m of that has been invested by the group in the past two years. Norbook is "essentially" in a net cash position, said Mr Nagle.

"We have no current plans in terms of M&A activity," he said. "Currently, we're really focused on driving growth organically in the business, investing in it, winning share, and bringing products to market. M&A is not something we've looked at in the past couple of years, and we don't have any near-term plans to do so."

The company, founded by the late Edward Haughey, who was Lord Ballyedmond, employs more than 2,000 people.

Its revenue jumped 14pc to £272m (€309.4m) in the year to the end of last July, while its operating profit rose 30.3pc to £50.2m (€57.1m).

Of the 14pc increase in revenue, nine percentage points was attributable to favourable foreign exchange rates, said Mr Nagle.

Norbrook exports about 80pc of the products it manufactures, with Europe, including the UK and Ireland, accounting for about one-third of its business. The remainder is evenly split between North America and the rest of the world.

Mr Nagle predicted that Norbrook's business in the United States could become increasingly significant for the group. The company notched up 17pc growth in North America during its 2017 financial year, boosted by business in the US.

"If we continue to grow at double-digit [pace] in the US, and the overall business is growing at 5pc or 6pc, then we obviously do see more upside in the US," he said.

"That's driven by winning share, but also with a strong focus on companion animals across the globe, but particularly in North America."

Mr Haughey's wife and family continue to own Norbrook.

Mr Nagle said the family is determined that Norbrook remains independent and would reject any takeover approaches.

"Our shareholder is very committed to the business. She wants us to build a business as a legacy to Lord Ballyedmond, who founded the business."

Irish Independent

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