United Drug acquires Dutch packaging firm


Healthcare services provider United Drug has acquired Dutch contract packaging company Pharma Logistics Investments for up to €20.9 million.

United Drug has agreed to make a cash payment of €15.4 million. An additional consideration of up to €5.5 million will also be paid if certain agreed targets are achieved over the next three years.

Pharma Logistics, which is based in Heerenveen in northern Holland, provides packaging and production services primarily for generic pharmaceuticals and healthcare products. It also provides a broader range of services to a number of European manufacturers.

United Drug confirmed yesterday that Pharma Logistic's current workforce of 125 people will remain with the business, and senior management will also be retained.

Chief executive Liam Fitz-gerald said the acquisition will significantly enhance United Drug's contract packaging capabilities.

"The acquisition is a further implementation of our strategy to build an international pharmaceutical and healthcare services company providing services that add value to our pharmaceutical and healthcare manufacturer customer base," Mr Fitzgerald said.

He described Pharma Logistic as a "high-quality growth company", with very professional management.

"PLI also complements our existing packaging businesses, Budelpack in Belgium and TD Packaging in the UK and expands our geographic reach in contract packaging," he added.

United Drug has committed to investing further in the business in order to facilitate its future growth.

This is the second contract packaging company that the company has acquired this year. In its first venture into continental Europe, United Drug bought the pharmaceutical and healthcare packaging division of Belgian company Budelpack Inter-national in April.

This was followed in May by the purchase of Oxfordshire-based medicines supplier Craig & Hayward Limited. At the time, the company said this acquisition fitted in with its plan to develop into higher value-added niches within the healthcare supply chain.

In the six-month period to the end of March 2007, United Drug reported a 16 per cent jump in pretax profits to €29 million, underpinned by an increase in revenue from €707.9 million to €770.1 million.

United Drug is listed on both the Irish and London stock exchanges.