November 28, 2017 / 8:15 AM / 16 days ago

UPDATE 1-UDG Healthcare CFO to retire; profit jumps 17 pct

(Adds background, segment details, shares)

Nov 28 (Reuters) - UDG Healthcare reported a 17 percent increase in full-year earnings on Tuesday, driven mainly by acquisitions, and said Chief Financial Officer Alan Ralph would retire by the end of 2018.

UDG stock was down 2.5 percent in morning trading and was among the top losers on London’s mid-cap index.

The company, which provides outsourced sales and marketing, drug distribution and packaging services to healthcare companies, also said it expected organic growth to accelerate in the second half of 2018.

UDG’s results were clouded by the retirement of the highly regarded CFO and due to a temporary slowdown in drug packaging business Sharp, Liberum analysts wrote in a note.

Sharp, which made up over 37 percent of profit in the previous year, reported an 8 percent increase in profit in the period.

Liberum analysts said earlier this month that weaker demand for its bottled packaging services affected Sharp’s U.S. business the most, somewhat diluting the strong progress enjoyed by its expanded biological packaging suite.

However, Liberum said on Tuesday Sharp’s slowdown was temporary and growth was expected to pick up in 2019.

Meanwhile, Ashfield, the clinical and commercialization services division which contributed to about 69 percent of the profit in 2016, reported a 16 percent growth in full-year profit.

The company, which completed six acquisitions this year, reported adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of 28.83 cents for the year ended Sept. 30, compared with 24.78 cents a year earlier.

Dublin-based UDG, formerly known as United Drug, also proposed a 7.5 percent increase in its final dividend to 9.72 cents per share. (Reporting by Hanna Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Amrutha Gayathri)

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