viewCello Health PLC

Cello Health expanding organically in Europe and the US


  • Two divisions: Cello Health and Cello Signal
  • The group's dividend has risen every year for the past 13 years
  • Expansion in the US is key to future growth
  • Suitable acquisitions are being mulled to speed this aim

Quick facts: Cello Health PLC

Price: 129 GBX

Market: AIM
Market Cap: £137.53 m


What it does

Cello Health PLC (LON:CLL) calls itself a healthcare-focused advisory group.

It has two arms: Health, which provides expertise, processes, intellectual property and market knowledge spanning the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostics, healthcare equipment and consumer health sectors.

And Signal, which provides “digital, social media and branding expertise” to companies, and is increasingly focused on health having previously been focused sectors such as technology and retail.

Cello’s big claim to fame is that it works with 24 of the top 25 pharmaceutical companies around the world.


How it’s doing

For the first half of 2019, Cello said it expects 2019 results to be “at least in line with current expectations” as it enjoyed growth right across the business.

Improvements in net revenues, pre-tax profit, earnings per share and margins all contributed to a strong opening six months.

The Health arm had an “excellent” half, expanding organically both in the US and Europe, with investment in the Boston area increased as a result of "significant" new clients wins and a new office in Berlin up and running.

Signal, where profits tend to be weighted towards the second half of the year, had a solid start similar to that seen the year before.

In the update, Cello said its balance sheet was strong, resulting in a net cash position at the end of June and minimal impact on profits from new IFRS 16 accounting rules.

For the last full-year, the dividend was bumped up by 10% to 3.85p from 3.50p the previous year, marking the 13th year in a row that the payout has been increased.


What the boss says

“2018 marked an important moment in Cello's development as we changed our name to Cello Health PLC to reflect our ongoing strategic focus and developed our Board to support that strategy,” said chief executive Mark Scott in March.

“It is pleasing to see strong earnings per share growth and we have accordingly increased our dividend for the thirteenth successive year.

“We now intend to build on this momentum to support Cello Health's position as a leading healthcare focused advisory group globally.”


What analysts say

"Coupled with a good current income pipeline, these points have enabled management to state it is confident of achieving a successful result in 2019, at least in line with current market expectations," said analyst Guy Hewett at house broker finnCap in a July note to clients.

Ahead of the full interim results in September, Hewett highlighted that the first half saw "strong" like-for-like revenue growth, with operating margins ahead of last year.

The group also benefited from stronger US-dollar exchange rates in the half.

Hewett made no changes to his forecasts for £170.7mln revenue and adjusted profit before tax of £12.8mln for the full year, although he said "the potential for an upgrade is clearly growing".

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