Irish pharmaceuticals group Uniphar has hired stockbroker Davy and RBC Capital Markets to sound out investors for a possible initial public offering (IPO) in 2019, a source familiar with the matter said today. 

The company could raise up to €150m from the issue of new shares if market conditions allow, the source said. 

The listing would be a welcome boost for Euronext Dublin, formerly known as the Irish Stock Exchange, which is yet to host an IPO in 2019 after a number of companies postponed flotations when markets faltered towards the end of 2018. 

Uniphar has an annual turnover of around €1.3 billion and could use the fresh capital for acquisitions as it seeks to expand. 

The source said comparable listed peers include Britain's Clinigen and Irish headquartered UDG Healthcare, both of which are listed in London. 

"It is a stated objective of Uniphar plc to seek a potential IPO listing on the Dublin and London markets subject to favourable market conditions," a spokesman for the company said. 

"The company is continuing to monitor the markets with this objective in mind," he added. 

Founded in 1967, Uniphar is the current leader in the Irish pharmaceutical wholesale and distribution market, having built on a number two position achieved by acquiring Cahill May Roberts in 2013 for €50m.

Uniphar last year acquired 15 pharmacies trading under the Allcare brand, and the healthcare distribution business SISK Group.