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Uniphar sets ambitious new goals for future growth


Uniphar [ISEQ:UNP] [LON:UPR], the Irish-listed pharmaceuticals and medical equipment reselling company published its final results for the year ending 31st December 2023 today and had tipped that it was expecting an upstep in organic gross profit and earnings year-on-year. The company is dual-listed on Euronext Dublin (the Irish Stock Exchange), its primary listing, with a secondary listing in London.

The Dublin-based pharma was hoping to carry momentum it had built up in 2023 into 2024. At the half-way point of last year things were looking good, with revenue up to EUR1.23bn (GBP1.05bn) for the six months, an improvement of 25% over the year, with gross profit of EUR188m, up from EUR146m the year previous, a year-on-year improvement of 28.7%. The company had debt of EUR178m, up from EUR91.2m in December 2022 at a leverage of 1.95x.

In its full-year results for the year ending 31st December 2023, the medical supply group announced EBITDA growth of 17.7%, revenue was up 23.3% to EUR2.6bn and gross profit was EUR390m up 27.1% year-on-year. Debt was up to  near to EUR150m, though year-end leverage had fallen to 1.6x.

Uniphar is not a new company. It’s been around for over five decades, set up as a partnership between a group of community pharmacists who wanted to ensure that they could guarantee the supply of medical products and drugs to their patients. The company grew, mainly by acquisition to become one of the biggest European companies dealing in outsourced pharmaceutical service.

Uniphar targets growth through aquisition

On average, Unipharm has made one acquisition every year, with its last acquisition the EUR50m Dublin-headquartered McCauley Pharmacy Group in February 2023 from investment fund Carlyle Cardinal Ireland and the company’s founder Sam McCauley adding 37 retail pharmacies to the group.

The company doesn’t just operate in the Republic of Ireland, as it has operations in the EU, North America, Asia Pacific and the Middle East as global partner to a number of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical and meditech corporations.

Uniphar entered the healthcare market as a supply chain operator, but over time built up partnerships with medical equipment companies and pharmaceutical manufacturers. The company is divided into three divisions: Uniphar Medtech, supplying medical equipment to both private and public healthcare providers; Uniphar Pharma, the clinical business that provides outsourced and specialised services, distributing unlicensed and difficult to source medicines to primary and secondary care customers, and; Supply Chain and Retail, where Uniphar is the market leader in the Republic of Ireland with around half of the country’s wholesale pharmaceuticals products market. The company’s objective is to improve patient access to pharmaco-medical products and treatments by enhancing connectivity between manufacturers and healthcare stakeholders.

Setting ambitious targets

The Irish company has set a high bar for itself. Group chief executive, Ger Rabbette said that the company had perfomed strongly in 2023, but was expecting more: “Following early delivery on our IPO targets, we have created a new divisional structure to capitalise on our attractive growth opportunities and are now focused on reaching our ambitious new target of EUR200m EBITDA over the medium-term.”

The company opened the week’s (26th February) trading at 243p. Over one-year the company’s shares fell back by -16%, with shares ranging between 178p and 310p and has a market capitalisation of GBP669m. Uniphar opened trading on today (27th February) at 243p and had jumped to 245p by lunchtime.

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This article does not constitute investment advice. Do your own research or consult a professional advisor.

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