Animalcare upbeat as new products are in the pipeline

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PET drugs company Animalcare said trading in the first four months of its new financial year is comfortably ahead of last year and the group is making good progress.

The York-based company said results are in line with the market’s and the board’s expectations after a difficult year in 2011.

Animalcare told shareholders at its AGM in Wetherby yesterday that it is on track to launch four new products during the year to June 2013

The first of these, Vitofyllin, a tablet prescribed for problems associated with canine ageing, was launched in September.

Animalcare said Vitofyllin is performing well and repeat orders have already been received.

Last month it was granted a marketing authorisation for Marbocare, an injectable version of the antibiotic marbofloxacin, which is used to treat large animals. Industrial production of Marbocare is now taking place.

Animalcare said it was pleased with the group’s underlying cash flow in 2011-12 and this trend has continued in the first quarter of 2012-13.

The group is recommending a final dividend of 3.0p per share giving a total dividend of 4.5p per share for the year, up 12.5 per cent on 2011.

It will pay this dividend to shareholders on November 16.

Animalcare is upbeat about the year ahead after overcoming a number of one-off problems last year.

The group suffered a steep fall in the pet microchip business with sales down 28 per cent in the year to June 30.

The economic downturn has deterred many pet owners from getting their cats and dogs microchipped, a process that allows vets to trace lost animals back to their owners.

There was also disruption after the group ceased distribution of a microchip operated cat flap, which produced margins that were considered too low.

In addition, microchip sales for thoroughbred racehorses have fallen following a downturn in the racing industry due to the recession.

Animalcare’s chief executive Stephen Wildridge said there are signs that the thoroughbred market has bottomed out.

“We’re at the bottom of the trough,” he said. “We think the market will pick up this year. A lot of the problems were one-off.”

Animalcare’s shares were unchanged last night at 133.50p.