TIDMVLG

RNS Number : 5222I

Venture Life Group PLC

13 August 2021

13 August 2021

VENTURE LIFE GROUP PLC

("Venture Life" "VLG" or the "Company")

Trading Update and Progress on recent Acquisitions

Venture Life (AIM: VLG), a leader in developing, manufacturing and commercialising products for the self-care market, provides an update on trading and the acquisitions of BBI Healthcare Limited ("BBI") announced on 7 June 2021 and the Helsinn Integrative Care Portfolio ("HICP") announced on 6 August 2021 .

Trading

The Company expects to report revenues for the six months ended 30(th) June 2021 of GBP13.8 million. Revenues are less than those reported for the first half of 2020 of GBP16.8 million, due to much lower sales of hand sanitising gel ("HSG") and sales to our Chinese partner for Dentyl. Outside of these two revenue streams, the rest of the business showed overall growth of 9% (excluding the impact of the BBI acquisition) over the first half of 2020, which pleased the Board given the backdrop of another extended lockdown due to Covid. Covid once again has had a heavy impact, which was seen during this first half, but we are starting to see encouraging signs of a post Covid recovery in retail in the UK especially. H1 2021 revenues did include a contribution of GBP1.1 million from the acquisition of BBI in early June.

HSG delivered revenues of only GBP0.1 million in the first half (2020: GBP3.2 million), significantly lower than in 2020 as there remains significant levels of stock in the channel. There was panic buying in Q2 2020 and what now appears to be significant overstocking, which has not yet sold out through retailers. Whilst we had expected HSG sales to be materially lower in 2021 than in 2020, actual trading so far is lower than our expectations due to significant stock still being in the channel. This was an opportunistic, yet meaningful revenue stream for us in 2020, and we do expect some continuing contribution from HSG. However, the data in recent months indicates that it is unlikely to be anywhere near the 2020 levels in the future.

In addition, whilst we have also seen some sales to our partner for Dentyl in China during the first half of 2021 (GBP0.2 million vs GBP2.3 million in H1 2020) as well as the continued paying down of a significant part of their debtor balance, sales out to this partner so far this year have not picked up as we had expected. The partner is still suffering from the effects of the Covid impact in 2020, and is not yet taking new product at the rate anticipated when the agreement with them was signed in 2020 or indeed in line with their communication earlier in 2021, which has likely been exacerbated by the significantly increased shipping cost to China now being seen. Whilst we expect more sales to this partner in 2021, and are hopeful that sales this year can at least match the full year 2020 revenues to this partner, we are exploring all options to maximise the value of these assets in China, where demand for the product has been good historically.

The order book for the business (excluding any orders for the China partner and the acquired BBI business) is higher than at the same time last year, indicating good growth in the core business during another extended period of lockdown across many markets.

BBI

The integration of BBI is progressing well, and the business contributed GBP1.1 million to H1 VLG revenues. Since acquisition, the integration of all aspects of the business has begun and is progressing in line with our expectations. Before acquisition, we had identified a number of cost synergies, which we are now implementing and, in addition, we are already identifying further revenue and cost synergies that we will seek to exploit.

BBI's most significant partner on the customer brand side is Bayer Consumer Care AG, which distributes two key products in the women's intimate health range, and it is pleasing to report that we have deepened this relationship since BBI came into the Group. Since acquisition, we have already extended the term of the contract for the main product from 2024 to 2030, as well as adding 16 new territories. Furthermore, we have extended the territory reach on the second key product from 12 countries to 51 countries. This contract extension has further solidified and extended our relationship, as well as brought new opportunities in new geographies for both products. We look forward to continuing to work with this partner through 2021 and beyond.

We continue to progress the process to achieve approval of a further new women's health product in the USA and will update the market on this in due course. This product is partnered with a different major player in the space (following an agreement signed April 2021), which will be selling it under their own well recognised brand, and it has already launched in the UK (its first market) in June 2021, as the product is already registered in the EU. Under the agreement, our partner has the right to sell the product in a number of other major EU countries, as well as the USA and China.

HICP

HICP was only acquired very recently but this portfolio brings the Group into another interesting new area, that of oncology support. We have begun the integration of this portfolio into our business, and this is made all the easier as we make two of the three products already, and we know many of the existing partners. No staff came with this acquisition, so our existing team has been absorbing the business, with the addition of some limited additional resource, as needed.

CPC clinical study

The clinical study at Cardiff University on our mouthwashes completed in April 2021 and the results have been submitted for peer review in key journals. We are hopeful to see the publication of these results very soon.

Revolving Credit Facility ("RCF")

As announced on 21 June 2021 , the Group secured an RCF from Santander Bank and Silicon Valley Bank to fund, inter alia, further acquisition opportunities going forward. An amount of GBP4 million was drawn at 30(th) June 2021 to replenish working capital and secure funds to make the first payment for the HICP acquisition. A further draw down will be made shortly to repay the debt with Italian banks, a condition of receiving the RCF. This facility (up to GBP30 million gross debt, plus an accordion of an additional GBP20 million) gives us further funds for acquisitions in addition to the ongoing cash generation of the business.

Outlook

The second half will have a more meaningful contribution from the new acquisitions and the business is well placed to benefit from the confidence that can be seen as the UK and global economies recover from the impact of Covid. The Board is excited by the growth opportunities available to the Group and looks forward to reporting further delivery on its strategy.

Jerry Randall, CEO of Venture Life, commented: "I am pleased the Group has continued to make progress during this prolonged Covid pandemic period, not only generating good growth across many areas of our business, but also by making two immediately earnings enhancing acquisitions. The progress made this year along with the acquisitions will contribute to another year of meaningful revenue and profit growth for the Group, despite some negatives around HSG and China. The acquisition of BBI has brought excellent products into the Group in two novel areas for us, in addition to some new blue-chip partners, who will be expanding the business in the coming years. This is also expected to be the case with the HICP acquisition. Our Chinese partner for Dentyl has made slower progress recovering from the Covid impact in China than we had hoped and is not progressing as well as we had expected by now. However, they have been paying down their debt and started to take delivery of some stock and, whilst we will continue to work with this partner as we would all partners, we are reviewing our options to make sure that the full potential for our products in the Chinese market is achieved.

Finally, the completion of the RCF is a significant milestone, extending the available non-dilutive funds for further earnings enhancing acquisitions. The two recent acquisitions meaningfully increase our expected profitability and cash generation in 2021, where we will receive the benefit of the two new acquisitions in the second half year. 2022 will see us receive the full year benefit of the new acquisitions and, along with the continued growth of our existing business, enables us to look forward to significant growth in revenues and profitability next year. At the same time, we have the resources to pursue additional earnings enhancing acquisitions to accelerate this growth and the Board looks forward to the future with confidence."

*Adjusted EBITDA is EBITDA before deduction of exceptional items and share based payments

This announcement contains Inside Information

For further information, please contact:

 
 Venture Life Group PLC                                +44 (0) 1344 578004 
 Jerry Randall, Chief Executive Officer 
                                                        +44 (0) 20 7397 
  Cenkos Securities plc (Nomad and Joint Broker)         8900 
 Michael Johnson / Russell Kerr (Sales) 
  Stephen Keys / Camilla Hume (Corporate Finance) 
                                                        +44 (0) 20 7496 
  Singer Capital Markets (Joint Broker)                  3000 
 Jonathan Dighe (Sales) 
  Shaun Dobson / Alaina Wong (Corporate Finance) 
 
 
 

About Venture Life ( www.venture-life.com )

Venture Life is an international consumer self-care company focused on developing, manufacturing and commercialising products for the global self-care market. With operations in the UK, Italy, The Netherlands and Sweden, the Group's product portfolio includes some key products such as the UltraDEX and Dentyl oral care product ranges, the Balance Active range in the area of women's intimate healthcare, the Lift and Glucogel product ranges for hypoglycaemia, products for fungal infections and proctology, and dermo-cosmetics for addressing the signs of ageing. Its products are sold in over 40 countries worldwide.

The products, which are typically recommended by pharmacists or healthcare practitioners, are available primarily through pharmacies and grocery multiples. In the UK and The Netherlands these are supplied direct by the company to retailers, elsewhere they are supplied by the Group's international distribution partners.

Through its two Development & Manufacturing operations in Italy and Sweden, the Group also provides development and manufacturing services to companies in the medical devices and cosmetic sectors.

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August 13, 2021 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)

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