Animalcare sees strong trading as CEO announces departure

ANIMALCARE today announced the departure of chief executive Stephen Wildridge as it revealed strong trading over the last six months.

Mr Wildridge, who has been with the York-based veterinary products group since 2003, is being replaced as CEO by managing director Dr Iain Menneer with immediate effect but will stay on with the company until October as director of strategy and business development.

Animalcare said Mr Wildridge, who was appointed CEO in April 2010, had been the “architect” of its successful development into one of the UK’s leading animal health companies.

Dr Menneer joined the company in December 2003 and has held marketing and business development roles working on the product development pipeline.

He was promoted to the board as director of marketing in July 2011 and was appointed managing director last March.

Animalcare today said that trading in the six months to December 31 had been 13% higher than the same period last year at £6.1m with gross profit 16% ahead and it has a positive outlook for its full year trading figures to June, a period when it expects to launch four new veterinary medicines.

The group said strong cash generation had helped it to achieve £2.9m at the end of December, up from £2.3m last June.

Mr Wildridge said: “Taking Animalcare from a non-core business within a larger group to a successful independent publically quoted company has been extremely enjoyable. Iain has been intimately involved in that success from the beginning and is eminently qualified and experienced to take Animalcare forward in the future.”
James Lambert, chairman of Animalcare, said: “Whilst we will miss Stephen’s experience he leaves the group in a strong position and with a proven, capable successor in Iain Menneer to take over as CEO to continue to build our business.”

Stock market analyst N+1 Singer welcomed today’s news.

It said: “This statement goes a long way to reassure that Animalcare has put the trading issues of last year behind it. The announcement of the resumption of sales of Buprecare ampoules at the start of this month was welcome and the outlook is bright.

“The shares currently stand on an undemanding 12m forward ex-cash P/E of 13x and we stay positive on the investment case, particularly as the group moves further up the value chain with its new product development programme.”