The hunting ban should have should have an "absolutely negligible" impact on the fortunes of the veterinary pharma company Dechrya Pharmaceuticals, even though its biggest selling product ' Equipalazone' is nonsteroidal treatment for bumps and bruises on horses and has some 90 per cent of its market.
So said the Stoke-on-Trent company's chief executive Ian Page yesterday, presenting healthy results for the six months to December.
Dechra's half-time profits were 24 per cent ahead on sales up 22 per cent to £103.3 million. Riders, he insisted will go on riding even if they cannot chase foxes. Anyway, while there are one million horses in Britain, there are 6.8 million dogs and 7.5 million cats.
Dechra has its own licensed drug for each - 'Vetoryl' for endocrinol cancer in older dogs, ' massively underdiagnosed in the past said Dechra's chief executive Ian Page, and a hyper-thyroid treatment for cats called 'Felimazole'.
Its campaign is to develop markets for these and other veterinary drugs overseas.
On continental Europe it has struck a marketing deal with Jannsen, the Belgian offshoot of Johnson & Johnson.
In America it is talking with US authorities about permission to market 'Vetoryl'.
"The US market is out biggest opportunity," said Mr Page. "There are ten times as many dogs and US vets are at the cutting edge with more animal medicines.
" The question is not whether 'Vetroyl' is licensed, but when?"
Meantime, two-thirds of Dechra's profits, and a higher percentage of its sales, come from wholesaling the products of other companies and providing specialist IT support to vets. Most of the proceeds are invested in efforts to invest in continental markets and the USA.
A 1.7p interim dividend is ten per cent up on last year's. The shares edged 41/2p higher to 1931/2. within striking distance of their all-time high. Since coming to the stock market at 120p in September, 2000 they have fallen to 58p during a Competition Commission investigation, then recovered strongly to their present price.