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Sangers (Northern Ireland): Slower rate of growth for turnover

By John Simpson

The share capital of Sangers (Northern Ireland) is owned by Alchem which, in turn, is owned by Irish registered United Drug plc. The Northern Ireland company is a large distributor of pharmaceutical products to the mainly independently owned high street chemists (or pharmacists).

Sangers (Northern Ireland) trades through four different divisions, each with a specific product and customer framework.

The wholesale division deals with the drugs and over-the-counter products for pharmacies and hospitals.

A Pemberton division sells health and beauty products to retail outlets. A separate distribution division sells bulk over-the-counter goods to large pharmacy chains and to hospitals and other wholesalers.

Finally, a commercial division exports ethical drugs to European countries.

The directors report that they intend to continue to develop the present range of activities with a strategy to grow the current portfolio of wholesale products.

Turnover in the year to September 2013 continued to grow but at a smaller rate than other recent years.

The operating profit of Sangers (NI) fell by 34% to £4.2m. However, the fall was partly explained by one-off charges related to restructuring costs and, compared to the previous year, no one-off curtailment gain on the pension fund provision.

Pre-tax profits in 2012-13 also fell by 17% to £6.9m.

Employment recently averaged 227 people which is a small fall from the previous year average of 235 people.

The defined benefit pension scheme, whose net assets or liabilities are reflected in the balance sheet, reported an increase in the value of its assets to over £14m. However, the actuarial valuations have recorded a net liability of over £1.2m at the end of September 2013. This net liability was down by nearly £0.8m when compared with a year earlier.

The company paid an interim dividend to its parent company shareholders of £3.75m, down from a dividend of £6m in the previous year.

These payments impacted on the value of shareholder's funds which benefited from the retention of post-tax profits after deduction of dividend charges.

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