Pet drugs firm Animalcare Group said it has performed well following the acquisition of Ecuphar last July.
The York-based firm reported double digit growth and said it has a solid pipeline of new products for future growth.
The group rewarded investors with a total dividend of 6.7p and said the plan is to continue to pay out dividends.
Revenue rose 22 per cent to £84m in the year to December 31 and underlying earnings increased 12 per cent to £10m.
Animalcare develops and sells veterinary products to the companion animal, production animal and equine markets. The group has seen a changing sales mix as it has grown more in production animal than companion animal markets. The production animal market produces lower margins than pet animals.
In addition overseas sales have increased, which also produce lower margins.
The group said it has fought hard to maintain its market share in companion animals where it has been hit by rules driving down the use of antibiotics. Around 10 per cent of the group’s business is antibiotics.
Animalcare’s CEO Chris Cardon said: “Our focus is companion animals, but being active in large animals is not a bad thing. There has been a consolidation in veterinary clinics so it’s good to have a balance in both markets.”
The group is looking forward to further growth this year as it launches eight new products in 2018 and the plan is to launch nine new products in 2019.
In 2017, the firm launched Acecare, a sedative, from Animalcare’s original UK pipeline and sales have performed in line with internal forecasts.
Jan Boone, chairman of Animalcare, said: “2017 was a transformational year for Animalcare. Whilst characterised by continued strong organic revenue growth, the most dominant factor during the year was the reverse acquisition of Ecuphar. It has positioned the group to take advantage of the opportunities arising from the significantly enlarged footprint and sales network to deliver profitable, cash-generative growth enabling the company to deliver long-term shareholder value.”
Mr Cardon said the group may consider smaller acquisitions over the short term. Once the acquisition of Ecuphar is totally bedded down, the firm will look at bigger acquisitions.
The business now has a considerably bigger footprint and sales network with direct sales teams in seven European countries and an export network that covers over 38 countries across Europe, Asia, Australasia, Africa and South America through 86 different distribution partners.
It has 50 licensed drugs, eight vaccines and over 100 care and nutraceutical products and employs 100 sale representatives and 28 agents to market these products to its global customer base.
Mr Cardon said: “We believe the business is well positioned for future growth and the directors remain confident of delivering long-term shareholder value.“
Analyst Mike Mitchell at Panmure Gordon said: “These results see Animalcare getting on with business following the transformational deal last year with Ecuphar.
“This is undoubtedly a story which requires the ‘long-view’ but we consider Animalcare well-placed to deliver on its strategic targets.“