Denis O’Neill and Michael Overy set up Kent Pharmaceuticals in 1986 with £125,000 of venture capital and £40,000 of their own funds. The company distributes and makes a variety of drugs for wholesalers, retail pharmacists and hospitals, and claims to be the UK’s largest independent producer of generic penicillin. Five years ago Kent Pharmaceuticals bought a factory in Ireland which now produces their tablet, capsule and bottled penicillin. Profits have increased by 53% pa, from £1.3m in 1996 to £4.5m in 1999. Sales increased by 19% pa in the same period to £35.8m. Finance director Michael Daly attributes this growth to the strong pound, which has made drug imports cheaper, together with cost savings from having a factory in the Euro zone in Ireland. High margin own brands include the company’s Health Check range of self-diagnostic products and the Early Bird pregnancy testing kits.
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