Veterinary pharmaceutical maker Dechra is targeting increased growth in the US as it reported strong rises in annual sales and profits.
The Staffordshire company, which employs almost 700 people at its sites in Stoke and in Yorkshire, beat expectations when it reported yesterday.
Sales increased by 11 per cent to £208.2 million in the year to the end of June, while pre-tax profit rose 17 per cent to £9.4 million.
Analysts had expected sales to be closer to £199 million and profits of £9.2 million.
Dechra's performance was boosted by increased sales of its own brand of veterinary drugs, which rose by 19 per cent to £11 million.
Chairman Michael Redmond said the year had seen the company make significant steps in the development of its own branded veterinary pharmaceutical product portfolio and increase its international presence.
Expenditure on developing new products rose by 19 per cent to £1.3 million.
The firm's services business, which distributes pharmaceuticals to vets and provides laboratory services for analysis work, increased its gross margin and secured a number of new customers.
Mr Redmond said: " Productivity and other operational efficiencies improved our manufacturing business' performance with turnover and operating profit substantially higher than the comparable period last year."
The company said its marketing business also experienced significant growth in its sales of pharmaceuticals including own-branded Vetoryl capsules for dogs and Felimazole tablets for cats.
Chief executive Ian Page said a key part of the firm's strategy was to expand into the US.
During the year, Dechra spent £2.1 million on capital expenditure, including the acquisition of worldwide rights to Thyroxyl Liquid and Thyroxyl Tablets and the marketing authorisations for the Vetivex Solutions range.
Mr Page said Vetoryl and Felimazole had been fast- tracked through the American clinical trials, and were likely to be launched in that country in 2007.
He said: "America is a massive market so it is very important to get involved over there."
The company, which already sells its own products in the UK, was also looking to launch in Japan. Meanwhile, Mr Page said Dechra was continuing to expand its own range of veterinary pharmaceuticals.
Some of the work involves the adaptation of human drugs to be used to treat sick pets while other work could involve completely new pharmaceuticals.
He said: "The service division is still the biggest part of the business, but we are continuing to develop more of our own pharmaceutical products.
"When we develop our own products you have the intellectual property rights and the margins are higher than if you sell other people's pharmaceuticals under licence.
"We have a number of other projects in the pipeline which we are also working on as well.
"The big pharmaceutical companies tend to be looking at £100 million projects, but we offer specialist products," he added.
Shares rose 1.5p to 251.5p.