Brendan McAtamney is to step into the role of chief executive of healthcare services provider UDG at the company's agm in Dublin today, assuming the role from Liam Fitzgerald.
Mr Fitzgerald, who spent 15 years as CEO of the company, announced last year that he would step down in March, but UDG said on Tuesday that the handover has been brought forward. Mr FitzGerald will continue as a non-executive director as planned until September 2016.
In a trading updated ahead of its agm, the London-listed Dublin based company reported a “strong start” in the period October 1st to December 31st 2015, noting that trading was “ well ahead” of the prior year.
Trading in the group's Ashfield health communications division was "strong", with operating profit for the division being ahead of the same period last year.
“The healthcare communications business has again delivered good profit growth in the period,” UDG said.
UDG's contract packaging arm, Sharp Packaging Services, saw positive trading momentum in the US business continuing during the first quarter with operating profits significantly ahead of the prior year. In Europe growth is " incremental" as it re-aligns the business for future profitability.
Operating profits at Aquilant, a provider of specialist healthcare and scientific products, were slightly ahead of the same quarter last year.
Looking ahead, UDG said that it is forecasting earnings per share growth of between 6-8 per cent for the full year, and it reiterated its dividend guidance for 2016.
“ As a result, the dividend per share for FY16 should increase over the FY15 dividend of 11c per share”.
UDG expects to deliver a good underlying cashflow performance for the year, and given its "modest" debt levels and the net proceeds from the United Drug disposal, it leaves the group "in a strong position to support its ongoing growth and expansion, both organically and through acquisition".