German pharmaceuticals giant Celesio is smashing records again.
The group, which owns the Lloydspharmacy chain in the Midlands has burst through the 20 billion euros turnover barrier for the first time.
It has also reached new highs in EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) and net profit.
Celesio, which bills itself as "Europe's leading pharmaceutical distribution company", increased its revenue and profit before tax for the 19th time in succession.
Profit before tax in the 2005 fiscal year rose from 495.1 million euros (£341.6 million) to 554.5 million euros (£382.4 million).
And Celesio said it was optimistic for 2006.
Chairman of the management board and chief executive Fritz Oesterle said: "For the first time in the history of our company our revenue exceeded 20 billion euros.
"For the first time our profit before tax has exceeded half a billion euros and market capitalisation topped six billion euros. And our portfolio includes over 2,000 pharmacies in Europe.
"We are very pleased with these results, as they highlight Celesio's continued success. We shall make every effort to ensure that this remains so in the future."
Revenues rose by seven per cent (6.9 per cent in local currency) to 20.5 billion euros (£14.1 billion). Mr Oesterle said the pretax profit jump of 12 per cent (12.1 per cent in local currency) was a "significant improvement" on the previous year's figure.
It was down to "operational improvements, strict cost control and closer cooperation with pharmaceutical manufacturers".
Net profit rose by 25.3 per cent (25.4 per cent in local currency) to 424.9 million euros (£293 million), partly the result of a trade tax refund. Excluding that, growth in net profit would have been 13.8 per cent (13.9 per cent in local currency). Celesio improved cash flow by 22.5 per cent to 530.8 million euros (£366 million).
The proposed dividend increase is 16.7 per cent to 1.40 euros per share Mr Oesterle forecasts the company would benefit from the growth of the European pharmaceutical market - anticipated to be around five per cent this year.
In the Wholesale division, Celesio's performance was expected to be in line. The Pharmacies business division could push ahead of the market in organic terms, the company suggested.
The extent of growth in the group's third business division Solutions was dependent on opportunities for acquisitions in the sector.
Lloydspharmacy is the leading community pharmacy chain in the UK with more than 1,400 outlets across the country.