Uniphar IPO to finance group's next acquisition phase

Uniphar IPO to finance group's next acquisition phase
File image. Picture: iStock.

Pharmacy and healthcare services group Uniphar will use the proceeds of its planned stock market flotation to pay for near-term acquisition targets and to reduce its debt levels.

The pharmaceutical wholesale, distribution and retail group said it intends to float on both the Euronext Dublin - or Irish Stock Exchange - and London's AIM market as early as next month.

The group is aiming to raise up to €150m from the move.

The money will be used to pay for what the company called "near-term bolt-on acquisition opportunities" as well as paying off existing debt, boosting working capital levels and covering the costs of Uniphar's recently announced purchase of US and UK-based specialist pharmaceuticals supplier Durbin.

Uniphar said that after the float the group's net debt is expected to be no more than 1.5 times earnings.

The group said it believes the IPO would further support its growth plans "by putting in place an appropriate capital structure to enable the group to execute on continued organic growth and acquisition opportunities, increase the group's public profile, brand awareness and long-term shareholders, further improve the ability of the group to recruit top talent and to retain and incentivise key management and employees."

"Having transformed the business in the last five years, with two-thirds of our earnings now derived from our international growth divisions - Commercial & Clinical and Product Access - the group is poised to become a truly global provider of integrated solutions with a strong focus on speciality pharmaceuticals and innovative medtech portfolios while maintaining our leading supply chain and retail position in the Irish market," said Uniphar chief executive Ger Rabbette.

"We are excited by the global growth opportunity that lies ahead for the business," he said.

Uniphar generated revenues of €1.55bn last year, along with €159.6m in gross profit and earnings - on an EBITDA basis - of €46.3m.

It is looking to double group earnings over the next five years.

"Uniphar has grown significantly to become a leading diversified healthcare services business, in line with our vision to improve patient access to pharmaco-medical products and treatments through enhancing stakeholder connectivity," said Mr Rabbette.

Last year Uniphar acquired, in a €65m deal, the healthcare distribution division of construction group Sisk.

Six years ago it bought out rival Cahill May Roberts in a €50m deal. It also owns the Life Pharmacy and Allcare Pharmacy retail chemist chains.

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