Healthcare services provider UDG Healthcare said it has made a good start to its financial year with constant currency adjusted operating profit for the quarter to the end of December ahead of the same quarter the previous year.

The company issued a trading update ahead of its AGM - and EGM - today.

UDG Healthcare said that adjusted operating profit at its Ashfield business was ahead of a strong comparative quarter last year. 

"Ashfield's investments in omni-channel capabilities and digital engagement prior to the pandemic has enabled the division to provide new hybrid models of delivery to clients, resulting in continued improvements in performance," the company said.

It also announced that Ashfield has launched a revised brand architecture and a new shared purpose to drive increased collaboration and create a more integrated service offering for its clients. 

Ashfield Communications & Advisory has been rebranded as Ashfield Advisory & Health, while Ashfield Commercial & Clinical will now be called Ashfield Engage.

In today's trading statement, UDG said that Ashfield Advisory & Health performed well with adjusted operating profit ahead of the same quarter last year. 

Ashfield Engage traded in line with expectations, with adjusted operating profit slightly behind the same quarter last year, it added.

Meanwhile, UDG said its Sharp business continued to deliver a strong performance with adjusted operating profit well ahead of the same quarter last year. 

This performance came on the back of continued strong demand from biotech companies for specialty packaging services across both the commercial and clinical businesses, it added.

Looking ahead, UDG said it expects its full year constant currency adjusted operating profit to be between 11% and 13% ahead of the $165.3m reported in full  year 2020.

It also said its strong balance sheet allows it to make further strategic acquisitions as those opportunities arise, complementing its continued underlying profit growth.