Business

Pharma giant Norbrook grows sales and profits - but warns over Brexit

A scientist at work at Norbrook in Newry, where the company has reported increased sales and profits
Gary McDonald Business Editor

PHARMACEUTICAL giant Norbrook Holdings in Newry says the last trading year has been "strong" as it continues to invest in the business.

Sales in the year to August rose one per cent to £275 million and the firm generated operating profits of £45.1 million as it enjoyed growth in many key markets including North America (where revenues soared 15 per cent) as it consolidated its position as a leader in the global veterinary pharmaceutical market.

But as with many businesses just 50 days out from the UK's exit from the EU, it warned of a number of challenges this year, not least the uncertainty of the Brexit outcome.

Chief executive Liam Nagle said: "As an export company, with 85 per cent of our revenue generated outside the UK, any barriers to trade, tariff and non-tariff, will impact on our competitiveness.

"We have an integrated supply chain, with a global supply base, which relies on frictionless trade, and we urge all those directly involved to work together to avoid a no deal Brexit, the impact of which I believe would be disproportionately felt in Northern Ireland.”

Mr Nagle said 2018 had been another solid year for Norbrook in which it made further progress on the implementation of its business strategy.

"We saw growth in our key markets, particularly the US where we had another strong year,, supported by the launch of a number of important products in the dairy sector. Our companion animal category continues to grow in line with expectations (up 12 per cent in 2018)," he said.

"We invested significantly in the business in 2018, spending £13.9 million and bringing capital investment over the last three years to around £40 million.

"We have a strong pipeline and work closely with our customers across the regions to identify new opportunities. Our strategy is delivering, with annual revenue and EBITDA growth of 8 per cent and 21 per cent respectively over the last four years, and we see a good runway for continued growth, based on our current portfolio and pipeline, in what continues to be a buoyant veterinary pharmaceutical sector."

Norbrook Holdings, which is controlled by the Lord Ballyedmond Family Trust, is the ultimate holding company for all of Norbrook's trading businesses.

The company, set up by the late Senator Edward Haughey more than 40 years ago and which employs more than 2,000 staff at operations in the UK and Ireland, Europe, US, Africa and Australia, sells its veterinary pharmaceutical products into more than 100 countries.

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