Business Person of the Month – Liam FitzGerald, CEO, UDG Healthcare
It has been a strong growth year for UDG Healthcare and projections for 2015 look positive with substantial progress predicted.
In November, UDG Healthcare plc, a leading international healthcare services provider, announced its preliminary results for the year ended September 30th 2014. The Group reported operating profit growth of 9% in the year and earnings per share (EPS) increased by 8%. Net debt/EBITDA reduced from 2.13 times to 1.89 times. And a proposed 7% increase in final dividend to 7.43 cent per share, will give a total dividend for the year of 10.12 cent per share, a 6% increase on 2013 figures.
After what was deemed a year of substantial progress for the Group, CEO Liam FitzGerald said: “2014 has been another year of substantial progress for the Group. Operating profit increased by 9%, EPS was 8% ahead of the prior year and our dividend has increased by 6%. This dividend increase continues our 25-year history of consistent dividend growth.”
UDG Healthcare’s strategic, operating highlights in 2014 included: strong growth in the Ashfield Commercial & Medical Services division, with operating profits up 32% in the year, including acquisitions. Ashfield became a global leader in healthcare communications during the year with the acquisition of KnowledgePoint360 (€106m) and Galliard (€16m).
“Following the successful integration of KnowledgePoint360 and Galliard, Ashfield Healthcare Communications is now a leading global healthcare communications business, FitzGerald said. “Across the Group we have strong market positions and are well positioned to benefit from the growth in outsourcing throughout the healthcare industry as companies react to rapidly changing business requirements.”
In 2014, operating profit in the Sharp Packaging Services division increased 22% on the prior year, as the European business made a modest profit in the year. Disposal of 50% interest in UniDrug to its joint venture partner Alliance Boots for €82.4m and disposal of the Specials businesses for €27.4m will enable greater focus on developing the Group’s core businesses, according to the CEO.
In addition, FitzGerald added: “UDG Healthcare continues to develop innovative solutions to meet clients’ needs. We are investing in increased capacity, systems, quality and compliance structures to allow clients to outsource key activities with confidence. The Group has considerable long-term financing facilities available and good internally generated cashflow to support our growth objectives. We remain very positive about our future growth prospects.”
- Liam FitzGerald was appointed chief executive of UDG Healthcare (formally United Drug) in October 2000.
- He previously served on the board since 1996.
- He joined the company in 1993, before which he was managing director of United Drug Distributors and also worked with Dimension Marketing Limited and Smurfit Kappa Group.
- Fitzgerald is a former non-executive director of Warner Chilcott plc and C&C Group plc and former chairman of the Marketing Society and Traidlinks.
- A graduate of UCD, he has a BComm and an MBS.