26 JAN 2021

Positive Q1 trading performance and full year guidance issued

26 January 2021: UDG Healthcare plc (“the Group”), a leading international provider of healthcare services, issues the following trading update covering the period from 1 October to 31 December 2020.

The Group will hold its Annual General Meeting at 12.00pm noon today, followed by an Extraordinary General Meeting at 12.30pm or, if later, as soon as possible thereafter as the Annual General Meeting of the Company shall have been concluded or adjourned. Shareholders are invited to join both meetings electronically (details of how to join are contained in the Notice of Annual General Meeting and the EGM Circular).

First Quarter to 31 December 2020


The Group has made a good start to the financial year with constant currency adjusted operating profit for the quarter to 31 December 2020 ahead of the same quarter last year.


Reflecting the significant evolution of the Ashfield service offering in recent years, Ashfield has today launched a revised brand architecture and a new shared purpose to drive increased collaboration and create a more integrated service offering for its clients. Ashfield Communications & Advisory has been rebranded as Ashfield Advisory & Health, while Ashfield Commercial & Clinical will now be called Ashfield Engage. There are no changes to financial disclosures or reporting structures. Further information can be found at www.udghealthcare.com

Ashfield’s adjusted operating profit was ahead of a strong comparative quarter last year. Ashfield’s investments in omni-channel capabilities and digital engagement prior to the pandemic has enabled the division to provide new hybrid models of delivery to clients, resulting in continued improvements in performance.

Ashfield Advisory & Health performed well with adjusted operating profit ahead of the same quarter last year. Ashfield Engage traded in line with expectations, with adjusted operating profit slightly behind the same quarter last year.

Activity levels in both STEM and Ashfield Engage have demonstrated good sequential improvement compared to the second half of FY20.

Ashfield Acquisition

In January 2021, Ashfield completed the acquisition of PHMR Limited (“PHMR”), a market access consultancy employing over 40 people in the UK and Ireland. The business specialises in healthcare technology assessment, pricing & reimbursement strategy, and real world evidence generation.

PHMR is being acquired for a total consideration of up to £32 million, comprising an initial consideration of £22 million, with an earn-out of up to £10 million payable over two years, based on the achievement of agreed profit targets.


Sharp continued to deliver a strong performance with adjusted operating profit well ahead of the same quarter last year. This performance was primarily driven by continued strong demand from biotech companies for specialty packaging services across both the Commercial and Clinical businesses.

Group Outlook & Development

For the year to 30 September 2021 the Group expects:

  • Constant currency adjusted operating profit1 to be between 11% and 13% ahead of the US$165.3m reported in FY20.
  • Constant currency adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS)1 to be between 9% and 11% ahead of the US$ 47.7c reported in FY20.

The Group’s strong balance sheet allows it to make further strategic acquisitions as those opportunities arise, complementing its continued underlying profit growth.

1 Before the amortisation of acquired intangible assets, transaction costs and exceptional items.

Date for Interim Results

The Group expects to issue its interim results for the six months to 31 March 2021 on Tuesday 18 May 2021.

Conference Call

UDG Healthcare plc will host a conference call for investors and analysts at 9.00am (GMT) today, Tuesday 26 January to discuss this statement. The dial-in details are as follows:

Conference call registration link:


It is suggested participants register in advance to obtain their unique dial-in details.

Please dial in at 8.45am to ensure a timely start to the briefing.

A playback facility will be available for seven days on +44 (0)1212604862. The access code for the replay will be 7026036#.

Forward Looking Information

Some statements in this announcement are or may be forward looking statements. In particular, any statements that express forecasts, expectations and projections with respect to future matters, including trends in results of operations, margins, growth rates, overall market trends, the impact of interest or exchange rates, the availability of financing, anticipated cost savings and synergies and the execution of the Group’s strategy, are forward looking statements. They represent expectations for the Group’s business, including statements that relate to the Group’s future prospects, developments and strategies, and involve risks and uncertainties both general and specific, because they relate to events and depend upon circumstances that will occur in the future. The Group has based these forward looking statements on assumptions regarding present and future strategies of the Group and the environment in which it will operate in the future. However, because they involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors including but not limited to general economic, political, financial, health, security and business factors, as well as international, national and local conditions which are beyond the Group’s control, actual results, performance, operations or achievements expressed or implied by such forward looking statements may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward looking statements and accordingly you should not rely on these forward looking statements in making investment decisions. Any forward looking statements speak only as of the date they are made and, except as required by applicable law or regulation, neither the Group nor any other party intends to update or revise these forward-looking statements after the date these statements are published, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Nothing in this document should be construed as a profit forecast. UDG Healthcare plc and its directors accept no liability to third parties.

For reference:

Investors and Analysts:
Keith Byrne
Head of Investor Relations, Strategy & Corporate Communications
UDG Healthcare plc
Tel: + 353 (0) 1 468 9000

Business / Financial media:
Lisa Kavanagh / Eavan Gannon
Tel: + 44 (0) 207 250 1446

About UDG Healthcare plc:

UDG Healthcare plc (LON: UDG) is a FTSE 250 global leader in healthcare advisory, marketing, communications, strategic engagement, patient solutions and packaging services. UDG employs 9,000 people across operations in 29 countries, delivering services in over 50 countries.

Operating across two divisions, Ashfield and Sharp, UDG provides outsourced services to over 300 healthcare companies from large pharmaceutical to small biotech companies.

Ashfield is a global integrated healthcare services partner, operating across three business areas: Ashfield Advisory, Ashfield Engage and Ashfield Health. The division enables its healthcare clients to bring their products to market, supporting them through every stage of the product lifecycle, to improve the lives of patients. Ashfield offers a breadth of services, developed organically and through acquisition, across strategic consulting, benchmarking, commercialisation, customer engagement, events, marketing and communications.

Sharp is a global leader in contract commercial packaging, clinical, manufacturing and technology services for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, operating from eight state-of-the-art facilities in the US and Europe.

For more information, please go to: www.udghealthcare.com