A YORK veterinary medicine and animal healthcare group is poised to build a “pan-European animal health platform” with the potential for further acquisitions after taking over a Belgian-based counterpart.

Animalcare Group said it will now grow organically and through selective acquisitions after forming an enlarged group through the reverse takeover of Ecuphar.

In an interim results update, covering the 12 months to June 30, Animalcare reported an eight per cent rise in sales to almost £16 million, alongside a 12 per cent increase in underlying operating profits to £3.57 million.

The business, which completed the acquisition of Ecuphar following its previous year end, which has since been moved to December 31, is split across three divisions, the most successful of which is the Licensed Veterinary Medicines group, where revenues rose 17 per cent to £5.46 million.

The growth was driven by an increase in export sales of 70 per cent, with sales from new products launched in the last 12 months contributing around £200,000.

Sales from the Animal Welfare Products division fell by three per cent to £1.43 million, which the group attributed to a reduction in sales of its animal hygiene range.

The final group, Companion Animal Identification, which focuses on animal chipping, also saw revenues fall, down to £1.02 million from £1.46 million in the previous year.

Following the acquisition of Ecuphar the company said the enlarged group represents a “growing, cash generative and dividend paying company with a solid pipeline of new products.”

The company said its new strategic focus will be on cross selling opportunities of both companies’ products, developing its network of partnerships and strategic alliances, identifying acquisitions that can broaden the sales, marketing and distribution platform, and diversifying the portfolio of products.

Animalcare chief operating officer Iain Meneer said: “Following the acquisition of Ecuphar NV in July 2017 two successful businesses have been brought together to create an enlarged group operating directly in seven countries in Western Europe with further sales activities through distributors in approximately 50 export territories.

“The integration of Animalcare and Ecuphar has begun well with clear opportunities to benefit from combining supply chain, export, business and product development activities. Some of these benefits will take time to feed through to step changes in operating performance but the foundations are being laid.”