Helix buys pharmacy software firm in UK
Irish software company Helix Health has acquired London-based pharmaSys, which provides cloud-based electronic management systems in the UK community pharmacy market. The acquisition price has not been disclosed.
The deal adds about 500 retail pharmacy sites to Helix’s network in the UK and is designed to give the Irish company a launch pad into that market, its chief executive and co-founder Howard Beggs told The Irish Times.
“This gives us a bigger footprint in the UK market and gives us a second product,” he said. “It really accelerates our UK ambitions.”
Mr Beggs said pharmaSys offered a low-cost, cloud-based health records system for UK pharmacies. The UK company was set up in 2005.
Helix is also targeting the Middle East for growth, supported by the Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Fund and Enterprise Ireland.
Helix provides software, hardware and automated dispensing machines to healthcare professionals, including retail and hospital pharmacies, GPs and consultants.
Its clients include leading pharmacy chains Hickey’s, Unicare/Doc Morris and MCabes. It currently employs 112 staff.
Accounts just filed show that Helix Health more than trebled its pretax profits in 2011 in spite of turnover declining by nearly €1.6 million.
The company recorded a pretax profit of €1.6 million in 2011 compared with €504,112 in the previous year. Its turnover declined by 12.9 per cent to €10.5 million.
A restructuring of the business and other cost savings shaved 20 per cent, or €1.8 million, off its administrative expenses.
Helix derived €9.7 million of its revenues in the Republic last year, almost €750,000 in the UK and the balance in the rest of the world.
Mr Beggs said the reduced turnover was the result of “considerable challenges” presented by the economic downturn, which has suppressed customer demand in Ireland.
“2011 was very much a year of investment and restructuring for the company,” he added. “We’re expecting moderate growth [in 2012] because we won’t see the benefits of the increased activity in the UK until 2013 and 2014.”
He said there were signs of renewed investment in healthcare technologies by Government here.
In April 2011, the company closed a €5 million equity funding round with the Ulster Bank Diageo Fund, managed by NCB Stockbrokers. It has also secured a €4.5 million borrowing facility from Ulster Bank, Mr Beggs said.