As we approach the Small Cap Awards, due to take place on 25th June, Master Investor profiles some of the companies shortlisted. Jennifer Winter, CEO of Animalcare, has been shortlisted for the CEO of the Year award.
- Please provide a brief description of the business
Animalcare Group plc is an AIM-listed international veterinary sales and marketing organisation. We bring new and innovative animal health products to market through our own development pipeline, partnerships and via acquisition. Born out of the 2017 merger of Animalcare and Ecuphar NV, today’s business operates in seven countries and exports to approximately 32 states in Europe and a further 16 worldwide.
- 2019/20 was clearly a strong year for the company, to what do you attribute your success?
A great team and a clear focus on our growth strategy. At the heart of that strategy is building and maintaining a strong financial position. In 2019 we improved cash conversion, increased underlying EBITDA and reduced net debt. That meant we entered 2020 with a solid platform from which to pursue our growth ambitions. And though we didn’t know it at the time of course, it would also help us weather the pandemic.
Operationally, we boosted our capability in key areas such as business development and marketing and we continued to simplify and improve the profitability of our portfolio. Our internal product pipeline continued to progress with the regulatory submission in early 2020 of our candidate pain treatment for dogs. On the business development front we struck deals to support key segments of our business.
- How would you characterise the long-term drivers for your business?
Our ambition is to become a leading company in the animal healthcare sector, a goal that is unchanged by the challenge of COVID-19. We continue to pursue business development opportunities that can reinforce the competitiveness of our existing portfolio or add differentiated products with the potential for longer term returns and more sustainable margins.
Fundamentally, however, the most important driver of success is our people. Almost 60 per cent of our employees are customer facing and more than one in four are trained vets. That means we understand the evolving needs of our market and speak the same language as the people who use and recommend our products every day.
The commitment and organisational agility of our people – backed by our strong balance sheet – equip us for long-term success in a dynamic market with attractive fundamentals.