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Strong sales prove a tonic for Seton

A combination of increased sales of over-the-counter medical products and contributions from acquisitions helped Seton Healthcare to turn in profit before tax of pounds 10.8m for the year to February, a 28 per cent increase.

Turnover rose 24 per cent to pounds 61.2m. The company said 10 per cent of the increase was due to organic growth, mainly from over-the-counter products and medicines that do not require prescriptions.

Seton said the market has continued to expand. Roger Humphreys, finance director, said: "The new year has started well and we hope to see a repeat of the 10 per cent organic growth experienced last year."

OTC sales now accounted for 40 per cent of the company's turnover compared with 35 per cent in the previous year.

Acquisitions added about 14 per cent to turnover. The company raised pounds 28.6m in December to fund seven acquisitions, including a pounds 13.8m deal to acquire NAPP headlice brands.

It attributed the increase in organic growth to its investment in marketing and sales staff. They now number 100, double the figure at the time of Seton's flotation in 1990.

Seton sportswear brands, which include Sondico goalkeepers' gloves and footballers' shin-pads, also performed well.

Fully diluted earnings per share are 21.6p, up 19 per cent. The dividend for the year is 7.1p, up 15 per cent.