United Drug ‘still open to resuming its Iseq listing’

United Drug has said that it remains open to the option of resuming a listing on the Irish Stock Exchange.

The Dublin-headquartered healthcare services group — which derives 70% of its earnings from outside of Ireland — delisted from the Iseq last October, in favour of a full share listing in London.

Addressing shareholders at the group’s agm in Dublin yesterday, chairman Peter Gray said that the option of taking a dual listing, here, “will be kept under review”.

Mr Gray also calmed shareholder concerns by saying management isn’t planning a share buyback programme, even though a resolution to give it that option was passed.

The company last embarked on a buyback programme two years ago, when it purchased five million shares. Mr Gray said such a move is not considered general policy.

A first quarter update — monitoring the three-month performance to the end of December — showed trading has remained strong into the company’s current financial year, with revenues ahead on a year-on-year basis. It added that it expects full-year earnings per share to be up by between 5% and 8% in its current year, which runs to the end of September.

Speaking after yesterday’s meeting, United chief executive Liam FitzGerald said the company still has a strong pipeline of acquisition opportunities, adding that management could comfortably spend between €50m and €60m per year on purchases in the foreseeable future.

He also said Ireland remains a “very important” market for the company, but that its target of reaching an earnings contribution of 80% from overseas operations should be reached before the previous 2015 time estimate.

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