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Isotron acquisition helps give Synergy healthy bottom line; HEALTH.

Byline: By Amy Brown Special Correspondent

Midlands group Synergy Healthcare, which provides outsourced decontamination and infection control services for hospitals, reported a 33 per cent jump in annual profits lifted by the acquisition of sterilisation specialist Isotron last year.

In the 12 months ended April 1, pretax profits before one-time items and amortisation climbed to pounds 16.9 million, or 29.2 pence per share, from pounds 12.7 million, or 23.8 pence in the same period last year.

Turnover, including a three month contribution from Isotron, grew 31 per cent to pounds 152.6 million. Underlying revenue climbed 20 per cent to pounds 140 million.

The results met forecasts in the City.

"The acquisition of Isotron completed during the year has now been successfully integrated," chief executive Richard Steeves said.

"With the international healthcare market continuing to adopt outsourced sterilisation services, we are confident in the outlook for the coming year and believe that Synergy is well placed to achieve strong future growth."

All businesses continue to perform well, the company reported, with strong growth from its Patient Care arm in the UK and the Netherlands, and progress at the Surgical division.

The forward order book increased to pounds 700 million compared with pounds 600 million last year. Derby-based Synergy, which currently generates organic growth rates of around 14-15 per cent a year, is expecting that to improve from 2009 following the acquisition of Isotron and the completion of a number of ongoing projects.

The Isotron acquisition, bought for pounds 181 million, added a third element to the business. Its patient care already provides linen management and infection control services to hospitals, while the surgical division sterilises reusable equipment used in operating theatres.

The new Commercial Division mainly provides sterilisation services for the medical device industry. It was bought for its established presence in Europe and Asia, particularly China, where Synergy wants to grow.

The company said yesterday it sees the potential as "greater than previously envisaged".

About pounds 1 million of annual cost synergies have been identified from the merger, and plans are under way to lift the organic growth rates in the Isotron businesses from the high single digit to the mid-teen level.

The group took a pounds 4 million charge last year relating to a contested insurance claim following a fire at its linen management facility in Dunstable, which it hopes to recover. The full year dividend was raised 20 per cent, to 8.4 pence per share. Synergy shares have advanced 48 per cent in the last 12 months, valuing the company at pounds 420 million.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jun 13, 2007
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