Belfast Telegraph

Company Snapshot: Sangers (Northern Ireland) Ltd

By John Simpson

The share capital of Sangers (Northern Ireland) is owned by Alchem plc 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).

On October 1, 2008, United Drug reorganised its businesses in Northern Ireland with a transfer of the assets and liabilities of its Primacare Division to Ulster Anaesthetics. The transfer of Primacare for a sum of £824,000 had an impact on turnover and profitability.

Turnover in Primacare in 2007-08 was worth £3.2m. If this is excluded from the comparator for 2008-9, the apparent fall in turnover of 4.1% reduces to a fall of 2.6%.

Similarly, the operating profit of Sangers (NI) which fell by 7.5%, reduces to 1.7% when the discontinued business is excluded.

The variation in pre-tax profits in 2008-09 was much larger: they fell by 24%. This difference is largely explained by a big reduction in the dividends earned by the local company from other trading entities in the group.

In addition to the extensive range of specialist supplies, the company also has an established comprehensive and frequent daily delivery schedule to maintain (and supply) products that may be needed in chemist outlets at short notice.

In 2008-9, the company enjoyed a big increase in the value of sales to one of its related parties, held as a joint venture, Medicare. Sales to Medicare increased from £13.3m in 2007-8 to £22.3m |more recently. Employment recently averaged 269 people, which is a small fall from the previous year average of 278 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 nearly £10m. However, the actuarial valuations have recorded a net liability of over £1.8m at the end of September 2009. This was up by £2.2m when compared with a year earlier. The company paid an interim dividend to its parent company shareholders of £5m. No dividend had been paid in the two previous years. This payment impacted on the value of shareholder’s funds, which fell from £12m in September 2008 to just over £7.5m in September 2009.

Belfast Telegraph