Pulmonary drug delivery company Vectura released encouraging results after a transformational year, with revenues ahead of expectations thanks to growing royalty income.
The Wiltshire company reached positive earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £5.2m in the year to March, versus a loss at this level of £3.4m a year before.
Turnover, at £36.5m, beat forecasts due to royalties and development services revenue slightly ahead of expectations, with adjusted losses before tax of £4.8m. Cash and cash equivalents stood at £81.7m at the period end.
Chief Executive Dr Chris Blackwell hailed a "very significant" year, driven by the progress made from the approvals and commercialisation of partnered assets.
Seebri Breezhaler, partnering with Novartis, gained approved in over 60 countries, including EU, Japan, Canada and Australia, with net sales of $82m. The Ultibro Breezhaler, also with Novartis, has launched in seven countries to date and been approved in over 30, including EU, Japan, Canada and Australia.
Looking ahead, Blackwell said he anticipates the continued commercialisation of Seebri, Ultibro and AirFluSal Forspiro to augment growing royalty streams.
He highlighted the recent acquisition of Activaero, which broker N+1 Singer said would open up the opportunity to leverage Vectura's formulation expertise in a proprietary inhalation solution.
The approvals of GlaxoSmithKline's fixed-dose combinations BREO and ELLIPTA generated first royalties during year and are expected to generate material royalties to Vectura for the next few years.
Soft drinks group Britvic served up a 20 per cent increase in interim profit, as it continues with its cost saving programme, and underlined its confidence in future trading with a 13 per cent hike in its interim dividend.
Pre-tax profit jumped 20.8% to £45.3m for the 28 weeks ended April 13th while revenue increased to £670.7m from £639.2m the same time a year earlier with volume growth of 3.9% and average realised price (ARP) growth of 0.8%. Half-year adjusted earnings per share were 14.5p, up 16.9% on last year.
The group, whose brand portfolio includes Robinsons, Tango, J2O, Fruit Shoot, Teisseire and PepsiCo brands such as Pepsi, 7UP and Mountain Dew Energy, under exclusive PepsiCo agreements, said its focus has remained on building sustainable profit and margin improvement.
Strategic cost initiatives are on-track to deliver £30m annual cost saving by 2016, it said.
Across its geographical regions, GB revenue rose 5.0%, in France revenue increased 7% but Ireland revenue fell 5.2% as the consumer environment remained difficult.
Chief Executive Officer Simon Litherland commented: "This has been another period of solid progress for our business, as we continue to implement the strategy we announced last year. Our international business is progressing well and the nationwide distribution of Fruit Shoot in the US is an important milestone as we seek to exploit the international potential of our brands."
"Whilst we anticipate that the consumer environment is likely to remain challenging across our core markets, we remain confident of delivering earnings before interest and tax in the range of £148m to £156m for the full-year."