Irish pharma group Uniphar plans IPO

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Irish pharmaceutical wholesale and retailing group Uniphar plans to raise up to 150 million euros ($167 million) from a placing of new shares in London and Dublin, it said on Monday.

The company will use the fresh capital from the initial public offering (IPO) to pay for acquisitions, growth and to reduce debt.

The shares will be listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and Euronext Growth in Dublin. Two sources said that pre-marketing and bookbuilding would take about four weeks, with a trading debut expected in mid-July.

Chief Executive Officer Ger Rabbette said in a statement that the company had been transformed in the past five years and is poised to expand its international activity while maintaining its supply chain and retail position in the Irish market.

The listing is also a boost for Euronext Dublin, formerly known as the Irish Stock Exchange, which has yet to host an IPO this year after a number of postponed flotations after markets faltered towards the end of 2018.

Uniphar was formed in 1994 through the merger of United Pharmacists Co-op and Allied Pharmaceutical Distributors.

It has about 2,000 employees and generated revenue of 1.55 billion euros and gross profit of 159.6 million euros in 2018. Core profit for 2018 was 46.3 million euros on a pro formabasis.

Uniphar has hired stockbroker Davy and RBC Capital Markets as joint bookrunners.

Reporting by Graham Fahy; Editing by David Goodman