Dublin based healthcare company UDG said its group operating profit for the first half of its financial year came in at $67.4m, up 15% on the same time last year.

The company's revenues for the six months to the end of March rose by 17% to $675.3m, while its pre-tax profits increase by 19% to $63.2m.

The company provides outsourced sales and marketing, drug distribution and packaging services to healthcare companies.

UDG also announced a 19% increase in its interim dividend to 4.25 cent per share and it said it expects to continue its more than 30 year history of growth for the full year. 

The company's chief executive Brendan McAtamney said the first half of 2018 was another period of strong growth for the company on the back of acquisitions and favourable tax changes. 

The CEO also said UDG was reiterating guidance for its full year constant currency adjusted diluted earnings per share growth of between 18% and 21% over last year's earnings. 

"We remain confident that our strong market positions and the growing trend in the healthcare industry to outsource specialist activities on an international basis, leaves UDG well positioned for growth in FY18 and beyond," he added. 

The company said that operating profits at its Ashfield business rose by 25% to $45.6m on the back of acquisitions completed the previous year, while net revenues jumped by 69% to $136.7m. 
UDG said that Ashfield remains focused on executing strategic acquisitions that complement the existing business. 

But operating profits at its Sharp business - which specialises in contract packaging - slipped 2% to $18.4m as a good second quarter trading performance did not fully offset a weak first quarter. Total revenues were down 7% to $142.5m.

UDG said the business is expected to deliver double digit underlying profit growth in the second half of the year. 

Meanwhile, revenues at its Aquilant business were up 17% to $53.9m while operating profits were down 11% to $2.9m due to the loss of some contracts.

The company's shares were 5.7% lower in London trade today.