Seton sees growth in self-medication

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The Independent Online
A SWITCH in strategy towards the over-the-counter market is providing the main engine for growth at Seton Healthcare, the company said yesterday., writes Gail Counsell.

Sales by Seton to UK pharmacies and community healthcare buyers rose by 64 per cent in the six months to 31 August, more than double the rate of increase for the healthcare division as a whole. UK hospital sales, in contrast, were up 5 per cent and exports 7 per cent, giving divisional sales of pounds 19.7m and profits of pounds 2.9m.

Seton takes the view that the National Health Service will place an increasing emphasis on self-medication, boosting sales of over-the- counter products.

'The trend towards self-medication is the basis of the direction we see the group going in,' Roger Gould, deputy chairman, said.

Sales in the sport and leisure care division were sluggish at pounds 2.5m ( pounds 2.6m), though profits were slightly higher at pounds 348,000 ( pounds 337,000). The group, the largest supplier of shin-pads in the UK, has high hopes for new products such as the only cricket helmet to conform to British Standards.

Group pre-tax profits at the interim were up 49 per cent at pounds 3.2m on the back of sales up 25 per cent to pounds 22.2m, though part of the rise was contributed by acquisitions. Earnings increased 22 per cent to 7.2p a share. The interim dividend is 1.9p (1.64p).

The shares rose 9p to 310p.