Healthcare services provider UDG Healthcare has reported adjusted earnings per share growth of 5% for the six months to the end of March as it increased its full year guidance.

UDG Healthcare said its adjusted earnings per share rose by 5% to 21.21 cent from 20.19 cent, while its net underlying revenue rose by 6%.

Total net revenue for the half year dipped by 4% to €548.3m due to currency issues and on the back of the sale of its Aquilant business last August. 

The company's adjusted pre-tax profits rose by 2% to $64.5m from $63.2m in the first quarter of the previous year.

It has declared an interim dividend of 4.46 cent per share, an increase of 5% on the same time last year.

It also said today that it completed the acquisitions of Putnam, a US-based strategic management healthcare consultancy, and Incisive Health, a UK-based healthcare policy and communications consultancy, for a combined sum of up to $106m.  

It said these deals significantly enhance its capabilities in its Ashfield Communications and Advisory business. 

The company's chief executive Brendan McAtamney said that UDG Healthcare delivered good EPS growth during the first half of its fiscal year.

The CEO said the new businesses acquired today are aligned with the company's strategy to expand into higher growth and higher margin areas, complementary to its existing service offering.

"Reflecting the benefit of these acquisitions and continued trading performance in line with expectations, we have increased our full year guidance to adjusted EPS growth on a constant currency basis to between 5% and 7%," Mr McAtamney added.

The company said operating profit at its Ashfield division rose by 3% to $47.2m on the back of acquisitions completed the previous year, while revenues increased by 2% to $490m. 

UDG said the division's outlook over the medium term remains positive, as it continues to diversify its service offering and expand its global market positions.  

Operating profits at its Sharp division jumped by 12% to $21.1m while revenues were up 18% to $168.8m, driven by the continued strong performance of its US operations. 

The company said it continues to be well positioned to deliver underlying profit growth in line with its medium term expectations of double digit growth in 2019 and beyond.