United Drug: Yes to name change

Dublin-based international healthcare services group, United Drug will formally change its name to UDG Healthcare by the end of next month, following receipt of shareholder approval for the identity switch yesterday.

Management initially announced its plan to change the group’s name — in order for it to act as a more neutral umbrella label for a growing number of divisions and subsidiaries (the United Drug name will remain for the group’s Irish drug wholesale business) — in May.

The move follows the group’s decision — late last year — to further align itself with a growing international customer base by de-listing from the Iseq in favour of a full share listing in London.

Yesterday’s shareholders meeting came just two days after United updated on recent trading, via its third quarter update. Wednesday’s statement said the three months to the end of June saw a strong group performance, with revenue and profit both up on a year-on-year basis.

UD also said it intends to keep the euro as its reporting currency, despite having its shares listed in London rather than Dublin.

Speaking after yesterday’s meeting, the group’s chief executive, Liam FitzGerald said management remains hopeful of adding further bolt-on acquisitions over the coming 12 months; saying the group has a very active M&A team and a strong pipeline of investment opportunities.

Last week, United — which spent over €100m on acquisitions last year — announced that it had reached agreement to buy Spanish contract sales business, Expansis, for a maximum consideration of €12m.

Mr FitzGerald said earlier this year that the group could spend between €50m and €60m on takeover targets, if it so wished.

Yesterday, he reiterated that view; adding that the new €131m loan facility — much of which will go towards paying down existing debt — announced earlier this week, will further boost United’s acquisition capability.

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