Healthcare services group United Drug has reported pre-tax profits of €62.327m for the year ending September 2007, up 15% on the same time last year.

Group revenues increased by 8% to €1.584 billion as the company made its first steps into Continental Europe with acquisitions in both Belgium and Holland.

United Drug is proposing a final dividend of 5.33 cent per share, up 15% over the 2006 final dividend. When combined with the interim dividend of 1.97 cent per share, the total dividend payable for 2007 is 7.30 cent per share, up 15% on 2006.

The company said that during the last year, it had made significant progress in its development as an international healthcare services company.

'Strong performances from our well managed Irish and UK based businesses has been enhanced by strategically important acquisitions in high growth areas, enabling us to broaden our service offering to international healthcare manufacturers,' a statement from the company said.

United Drug said its pharma wholesale business saw sales, profits and market share all increase over the year. The division starting supplying the Boots pharmacy chain of 43 shops in Ireland in October, which will 'substantially' increase sales and volumes.

Its supply chain services division also recorded strong revenue and profits growth during the year and United Drug said the division is well positioned to exploit future growth opportunities.

The Medical and Scientific division saw its Irish operations produce another year of record profits and the company said the division is well placed to deliver further sales and profit growth for the year ahead.

United Drug's Contract Sales Outsourcing sector, which comprises market leading businesses in the UK and Ireland along with a small US operation, performed well during the year and recorded 'very good growth' in revenues and profits.

'During the last 12 months, the company has further broadened the range of services available for our healthcare manufacturer customers in existing and new markets and enhanced its offering to our retail pharmacy customers,' commented CEO Liam Fitzgerald.

'The company now has a more diversified earnings base and will continue to pursue its ambition to be a dynamic, leading international healthcare services organisation,' he added.

United Drug shares closed down five cent to €3.30 in Dublin this evening.