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Sigma Acquires Dosage Administrator MPS

Sigma Healthcare has acquired Australia’s largest provider of dose administration services to the aged care sector and community pharmacy patients.

Pharmacies and drug supplier Sigma Healthcare has added another business to the group, dosage administrator Medication Packaging Systems (MPS), as it endeavours to become a broader-based healthcare company.

Sigma, whose pharmacy brands include Amcal, Guardian, and Chemist King, will pay $18.5 million for MPS, which is Australia’s largest provider of dose administration services to the aged care sector and community pharmacy patients.

MPS provides medicine management systems and individual medication sachet doses, which helps ensure that patients get the right amount of medicine.

“One of the issues, particularly with elderly patients, is they either don’t take all the medicines they should, or they don’t take them in the right amounts,” Sigma chief executive Mark Hooper said on Thursday.

“In a residential aged care environment, it (sachet doses) just makes it easier for support staff to make sure that patients are getting their right doses when they need them.”

Mr Hooper said the acquisition of MPS fits Sigma’s strategy of becoming a broader healthcare company that doesn’t rely so heavily upon sales of government-subsidised drugs.

“The logic from our point of view was that with an ageing population, there’s going to be an increasing focus of activity and growth in healthcare services,” he said.

Meanwhile Sigma has lifted its half-year net profit the six months to July 31 by 17.4 per cent to $27.8 million, although sales revenue fell 6.1 per cent amid challenging industry conditions.

Sales were impacted by a pull-back in sales of low-margin Hepatitis C medicines as demand eased, the exit from the group of some pharmacies in Queensland that were not complying with “Amcal” store branding requirements, and softer consumer sentiment.

Adjusting for the lower Hep C sales, sales revenue was down 1.4 per cent.

But Mr Hooper says a number of factors – the group’s business improvement plan, the opening of Sigma’s Berrinba distribution centre in Queensland, and the ramp-up of new service contracts in hospitals and logistics – point to a more positive outlook for fiscal 2019.

“The signs are good that momentum is swinging back in our favour,” Mr Hooper said.

Sigma confirmed its guidance, provided on August 11, of underlying EBIT of $90 million for the full 2018 fiscal year.

Shares in Sigma were 3.5 cents, or 4.1 per cent, higher at 89.5 cents at 1218 AEST.


* Half-year net profit up 17.4pct to 27.8m

* Sales revenue down 6.1pct to $2.02b

* Interim dividend maintained at 2.5 cents, fully franked

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