Animalcare reveals global expansion plans

Animalcare's drugs are used on household pets to relieve pain and cure ailments
Animalcare's drugs are used on household pets to relieve pain and cure ailments
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Pet drugs​ firm Animalcare ​is looking to expand beyond Europe​ and transform itself into a global company following strong demand from overseas markets.

The York-based fir​m​ reported strong growth overseas as ​sales outside the UK rose by a better than expected 60 per cent​ in the year to June 30​.

Until now Animalcare has focused solely on Europe, but following its ​“truly transformational” takeover of Belgian firm ​Ecuphar​ in July​, ​it is setting its sights further afield.

The group's finance director Chris Brewster said Animalcare is now launching products into new territories such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Saudi Arabia.

"This is the first time we've gone beyond Europe," he said.

​He said the Ecuphar deal will enable the firm to trade overseas whatever happens with the Brexit negotiations.

"The transaction with Ecuphar is very helpful. After Brexit we will have to have a legal entity within Europe. It wasn't the reason for the Ecuphar deal, but it's a fortuitous side effect," he said.

"It's a great deal because of the synergy between the two companies. Ecuphar had no sales in the UK before the deal. The R&D team in York have great skills and so does the R&D team in Barcelona."

The group's chief operating officer Iain Menneer said much of the overseas push is thanks to its new head of export, Martin Gore, who was recruited from Novartis.

"We are sweating our assets better," said Mr Menneer.

"If you have a licence in Europe, there's nothing to say you can't sell further afield. We weren't using our assets as much as we could have done.

"We are going through regulatory approvals in Canada, New Zealand and other territories.

"As an enlarged group, we have a real potential to sell more and we are looking to move into Eastern Europe and Russia."

New chief executive Christian Cardon said that once Ecuphar and Animalcare have been fully integrated, the enlarged firm will look at more partnerships and acquisitions.

The group was speaking as it announced an 8 per cent increase in total revenue to £15.8m in the 12 months to June 30, following an accounting year end change following the Ecuphar deal.

It said that following a "very strong" first half of the financial year for Animalcare, the board was pleased to announce that pre-merger trading for the 12 months to June 30

was in line with the board’s and market expectations.

​Underlying operating profits​ ​​rose 12 per cent to £3.​6​m​.

​The group reported​ strong revenue growth from Licensed Veterinary Medicines, which rose up 17.2 per cent to £10.8m, driven by key pharmaceutical ranges such as intravenous fluids, anaesthetics and analgesics, and revenue from eight recently launched products.

Revenue from the Animal Welfare Products range rose 5.5 per cent to £2.9m.

Chairman Jan Boone said: “The business continues to perform well. The reported results for Animalcare pre-acquisition provide a good reminder of the strength of the underlying business that, together with Ecuphar, has the ability to be a leader in the European animal health market.

"The pan-European business created represents a growing, cash generative and dividend paying company with a solid pipeline of new products."

The group will pay a second interim dividend of 4.7p per share, further to the 2.0p interim dividend, taking the total interim dividends to 6.7p per share.