Drop in sanitiser sales hits Bracknell product manufacturer, but other product sales up

Dentyl

Bracknell-based Venture Life, which develops and manufactures products for the self-care market, has reported lower revenues for the six months to June, at £13.8 million.

This is due to much lower sales of hand sanitising gel and sales to its Chinese partner for Dentyl. Outside of these two revenue streams, the rest of the business showed overall growth of nine per cent (excluding the impact of the BBI acquisition) over the first half of 2020.

In July, Venture Life announced it had bought BBI Healthcare, a South Wales-based women’s health and energy and diabetes management company,  in a deal worth up to £36m.

While Covid hit the company heavily during the first half of the year, it is starting to see encouraging signs of a post Covid recovery in retail in the UK especially. H1 2021 revenues did include a contribution of £1.1 million from the acquisition of BBI in early June.

Hand Sanitiser Gel (HSG) delivered revenues of only £0.1 million in the first half (2020: £3.2 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 the company had expected HSG sales to be materially lower in 2021 than in 2020, actual trading so far is lower than expectations due to significant stock still being in the channel.

In addition, whilst the company has also seen some sales to its partner for its Dentyl mouthwash in China during the first half of 2021 (£0.2 million vs £2.3 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 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.

Venture Life said: “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.’

Jerry Randall, CEO of Venture Life, said: “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.”