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United Drug's Pharmexx deal helps lift profits by 8pc

Irish drug-distribution and packaging-services company United Drug said its first-half profit rose 8pc, boosted by its acquisition of a marketing-services provider in 2012.

The Dublin-based company plans to close its UK commercial-packaging facility and record charges of as much as €24m for the full year, largely related to the closure.

United Drug reported an adjusted pre-tax profit of €38m for the six months to March 31 while revenue rose 14pc to €1.02bn. Revenue at its sales, marketing and medical division more than doubled to €182m, with much of this growth coming from the recently acquired Pharmexx.

"During the period, the US became our largest profit-contributing region, followed closely by the UK and the rest of Europe," chief executive Liam FitzGerald said.

The company said it continued to expect adjusted diluted earnings per share to rise 5pc to 8pc for the full year on a constant currency basis.

The company said that it planned to rebrand the group as 'UDG Healthcare' in September subject to shareholder approval.

United Drug left the Irish stock exchange in March and is now listed in London where the shares have risen by one-third in the past year. The UK's National Health Service is a major client of the company.

"The first half of 2013 has seen us integrate our recent acquisitions, structure our business for future growth and deliver operating profit growth,'' Mr FitzGerald added yesterday.

"We continue to work hard to provide a range and quality of professional outsourcing solutions that enable our international healthcare clients to operate more effectively.''

Since United Drug moved to the London Stock Exchange and entered the FTSE 250, executives have been trying to reposition the company from a retail to a healthcare business.

Irish Independent