United Drug, a pharmaceutical wholesaler and supplier of sales, marketing and other services to the drug industry, expects its 2012 earnings to come in 5-8% ahead of last year.

That is after adjusting for some one-off costs including five acquisitions it made during the year, according to an interim statement released to the stock exchange.

The company said its operations outside of Ireland, thanks in part to those acquisitions during the year, are now contributing over 70% of its profit.

United Drug said that trading across the group during the period from October to today's trading statement has been strong with revenues and profits for the three months to the end of December ahead of the same time the previous year.

''The group also expects to deliver another strong cash flow performance in the year, which coupled with modest debt levels relative to earnings and significant financing facilities available leaves the group well positioned to support its future growth objectives both organically and through acquisition,'' the company added.