Healthcare services provider UDG Healthcare said it has made a good start to the financial year, with profit before tax well ahead of the same time the previous year.

In a trading update covering October 1 to December 31, it said that based on its trading performance so far, it expects constant currency adjusted diluted earnings per share to be between 7-9% ahead of last year's earnings of 47.3 US cents.

UDG said operating profit at its Ashfield division was "significantly" ahead of the same quarter in 2019, on the back of good underlying growth and the benefit of acquisitions made last year.

It added that operating profits at its Sharp division was also ahead of a strong comparative quarter with all parts of the business trading in line with expectations. 

"The group's strong balance sheet allows it to make further strategic acquisitions as those opportunities arise, complementing its continued underlying profit growth," the company said.

UDG Healthcare is holding its AGM in Dublin today.