UDG Healthcare's full-year profits have jumped, but shares are down

Courtney Goldsmith
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The firm's CFO will retire by the end of 2018 (Source: Getty)

Dublin-based UDG Healthcare reported a rise in profits for the full year as the FTSE 250 company grew through acquisitions.

The figures

The healthcare services provider said profit before tax rose 17 per cent, or 23 per cent on a constant currency basis, to $118.9m (£89.6m).

Revenue rose 13 per cent, or 17 per cent at a constant currency rate, to $1.2bn.

UDG, which has a market capitalisation of around £2.2bn, completed six acquisitions in the year, spending a total of $270m.

The firm also proposed a 7.5 per cent increase in its final dividend to 9.72 cents per share.

Shares in UDG were down nearly five per cent to 818.5p in afternoon trading.

Read more: UDG Healthcare snaps up US-based MicroMass for $76m

Why it's interesting

The company's results were hit somewhat by the announcement of the retirement of UDG's highly regarded chief financial officer, Alan Ralph. Ralph, who will retire by end of 2018, played a key role in UDG's recent transformation, analysts at Liberum said.

A temporary slowdown at the company's drug packaging business, Sharp, also was some cause for concern, but that was offset by growth at its clinical and commercialisation services division, Ashfield.

Chris Glasper, analyst at N+1 Singer, said: "Underlying divisional performance was as expected, with Ashfield Communications remaining the key growth driver for the group. We make no material changes to our forecasts, having recently upgraded by seven per cent for the MicroMass deal.

"Further acquisitions in the new year should drive more upgrades."

What UDG Healthcare said

Chief executive Brendan McAtamney said

We are well positioned to continue to deliver organic growth and our strong balance sheet will enable us to execute further strategic acquisition opportunities as they arise.

UDG Healthcare's value proposition to our clients continues to expand and the group also continues to benefit from the increasing trend in the healthcare industry to outsource specialist and non-core activities on an international basis.

Read more: Get ready for the rise of digital healthcare

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