19 MAY 2020

19 May 2020: UDG Healthcare plc (“UDG Healthcare” or “Group”), a leading international healthcare services provider, announces its results for the six months to 31 March 2020, in which the Group delivered a strong first half performance and an update on the impact of COVID-19.

Key updates

  • Strong H1 FY20 performance well ahead of prior year:
    • Adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) increased by 16% (16% on a constant currency basis)
    • Underlying* net revenue growth of 4%. Total net revenue growth of 10% on a constant currency basis
    • Underlying* adjusted operating profit growth of 10%. Total adjusted operating profit increased by 24% on a constant currency basis, reflecting continued growth in Ashfield and Sharp
      • Ashfield’s operating profit increased by 24% on a constant currency basis, driven by good underlying growth in Communications & Advisory, and the benefit of 2019 acquisitions
      • Sharp performed very strongly, with operating profit increasing by 24% on a constant currency basis driven by strong underlying growth across the division
    • Adjusted net operating margin increased from 12.0% to 13.6%
  • Robust balance sheet with net debt to EBITDA of 0.3x** and a continued strong cash flow conversion performance
  • In May, Sharp completed the acquisition of a packaging facility in the U.S., adding incremental capacity to the U.S. commercial packaging business
  • COVID-19 impact:
    • The health and wellbeing of our people and serving our clients remains the Group’s priority
    • H2 FY20 performance expected to be impacted by COVID-19
    • Ongoing mitigation plans being implemented across the Group
    • As previously announced in the April 2020 trading update, FY20 interim dividend suspended and FY20 financial guidance withdrawn due to current uncertainty

*underlying growth adjusts for the impact of currency translation movements and any acquisition or disposal activity

**calculated in line with financial covenant requirements

Chief Executive’s comment

Chief Executive Officer, Brendan McAtamney commented:

“The Group’s priority remains on protecting the health and wellbeing of our people and serving our clients during this challenging time. I am immensely proud of the continued hard work and resilience of our people and want to reiterate my continued appreciation for their dedication and commitment.

As announced in our April 2020 trading update, we delivered a strong first half performance, well ahead of the prior year, driven by underlying growth and acquisitions in Ashfield, and strong demand in our Sharp business. While we expect to see an impact from COVID-19 in the second half, we are implementing plans across the Group to mitigate this.

UDG is a strong and diversified business, underpinned by excellent long-term market fundamentals and a robust balance sheet and cash flow position. While uncertainty remains, I am confident the decisive actions taken now will ensure we remain well positioned through the crisis and beyond.”

Financial Results – six months to 31 March 2020

 IFRS based

31 March 2020


31 March 2019


 Increase / (decrease)


Revenue 693.6 656.6 6  
Operating profit 68.5 34.1 n/m  
Profit before tax 62.3 30.3 n/m  
Diluted earnings 
per share ("EPS") (cent)
22.03 9.27 n/m  
Dividend per share (cent) - 4.46 (100)  
  31 March 2020 31 March 2019 30 September 2019  
Net debt ($'m) 58.2 56.8 80.5  
Net debt ($’m) including IFRS 16 lease liabilities 157.1 n/a n/a  
Net debt/annualised EBITDA (times) 0.3 0.3 0.4  
Alternative performance measures(IAS 18) 31 March 2020 
31 March 2019 





Revenue 693.6 656.6 6 6
Net Revenue 596.2 546.2 9 10
Adjusted operating profit 81.3 65.6 24 24
Adjusted profit before tax 75.0 61.8 21 21
Adjusted diluted earnings per share ("EPS") (cent) 23.64 20.32 16 16


COVID-19 update and outlook

Protecting the wellbeing of our people

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Group’s priority has been the health and wellbeing of our people and their families. A global response team established in the initial stages of the outbreak, made up of representatives from across the Group, continues to convene on a regular basis to review existing measures to protect colleagues and manage these as required.

Across all of our businesses, we have put in place additional health and safety measures to protect our people. At our Sharp sites, these measures include providing incremental personal protective equipment, additional cleaning and hygiene services, and adapting shift patterns to enable required social distancing. In Ashfield the vast majority of our employees are working remotely.

We have also developed and launched a number of wellbeing initiatives and resources, which are available to all employees across the Group. Launched during wellbeing week, our employee microsite, “Wellspace”, contains free webinars, useful resources, activities and classes to support physical and mental wellbeing.

Continuing to deliver for our clients

Despite the impact of COVID-19 on activity and operations, our people have shown incredible commitment and dedication in light of the unprecedented challenges presented by this outbreak. As a result, the Group has continued to deliver for clients to the extent possible during this challenging time, aided by our significant investments in technology in recent years.

We also continue to use our expertise to support our clients in their efforts to find a treatment for COVID-19, including packaging, distribution and medical information services on several clinical trials related to COVID-19. Our teams in Ashfield have adapted rapidly to ensure we can deliver services such as field-based training, clinical educators, patient support programs and live events virtually to our clients.

Supporting the communities we operate in

The Group has a long record of supporting local communities through hands-on projects and charitable fundraising. Over the last few months we have been supporting the communities we operate in through foodbank donations, charitable fundraising, a donation to #fuellingthefrontline, an initiative in Ireland to provide essential and nutritious meals to Frontline Heroes fighting COVID-19, as well as donating personal protective equipment to hospitals and manufacturing face shields for front line workers from surplus materials.

Impact on our operations

Within Ashfield, as a dynamic and technology-enabled business, we continue to serve our clients remotely where possible, although we have seen some project deferrals and cancellations. In-field based activities in Ashfield (particularly in our Meetings and Events business, field-based representatives, clinical educator business and audit services in STEM) are experiencing more significant disruption and reduced activity.

In Sharp, where we package critical and in some cases life-saving medicines for patients, the business has been categorised as essential and therefore continues to operate. Demand within Sharp remains very robust. Temporary disruption to production schedules and capacity resulting from the additional health and safety measures, along with workforce availability, is expected to reduce our efficiency and revenue. Actions to mitigate these impacts are being implemented, resulting in workforce availability sequentially improving, and the social distancing measures being partially offset by incremental automation.

Cost management

The Group is actively adopting tighter cost control measures to mitigate the potential negative impacts from COVID-19. These measures have included: the reduction of appropriate variable costs; tight control of discretionary expenditure; a recruitment freeze; reducing freelancer expenditure; and a temporary reduction in labour, including reduced working hours and furloughing of employees.

The Board and Senior Executive Team have voluntarily agreed to take a 20% reduction in their respective fees and base salary for at least the next three months.

Balance sheet, liquidity and dividend

The Group has a robust financial position with a strong balance sheet and liquidity profile, and a net debt to EBITDA ratio of 0.3x at 31 March 2020 (as defined by our debt agreements) which compares to the Group’s banking covenant of 3.5x net debt to EBITDA. The Group also has access to committed undrawn debt facilities of $230m.

Having regard for all stakeholders' interests and the wider societal challenges, the Board took the decision at the time of the April 2020 trading update to suspend an interim dividend for H1 FY20. The Board has committed to keeping this decision under review during the financial year as the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak become clearer.

Group outlook

As communicated at the time of our April 2020 trading update, the Group expects lower activity levels than previously anticipated during the second half of FY20. As a result, the Group withdrew its constant currency EPS guidance for FY20 in light of the ongoing uncertainty and near-term challenges presented by the COVID-19 outbreak.

During FY19 and the first half of FY20, the Group delivered a strong underlying growth performance, supplemented by the benefits of recent acquisition activity. The Group’s strong and diversified business, accompanied by excellent market fundamentals and its robust financial position, leaves it well placed to deliver renewed strong growth over the medium term.

Upcoming financial results

The Group will issue its Third Quarter Trading Update on Wednesday, 5th August 2020.


1 Alternative performance measures (“APMs) are financial measurements that are not required under International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) which represent the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) under which the Group reports. APMs are presented to provide readers with additional financial information that is regularly reviewed by management. The Group believes that the presentation of these non-IFRS measurements provides useful supplemental information which, when viewed in conjunction with IFRS financial information, provides stakeholders with a more meaningful understanding of the underlying financial and operating performance of the Group and its divisions. APMs should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for an analysis of results as reported under IFRS. See “Additional Information” on page 36 for definitions and reconciliations to the closest respective equivalent GAAP measure.

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