Medica is a producer of secondary pharmaceutical packaging – the cartons that go round prescription and other drugs – and has a proud tradition of serving this niche since being a part of the Wellcome Trust at its inception, still operating from the same site in Crewe. As a sector this is very different to other packaging, such as food, with regulatory barriers and short-run production, and therefore the providers are also different. However over time consolidation had left the UK market with two major global players, and Medica as the only serious number three, in a market which has always valued dual supply. During this time Medica itself had also been neglected under the ownership of a food packaging company using Medica as an over-run facility. Sullivan Street saw a unique opportunity to focus the number three in a stable, growing, high margin market.
Since our involvement Medica has been turned around from being significantly loss-making to being profitable at an EBITDA level, after investment in sales personnel and the recruitment of a new CEO and Chairman. Significant improvements in production, production planning and waste levels have achieved this, along with selective withdrawal from unprofitable product lines. On a stable financial footing, Medica has turned its attention to growing its revenue, absorbing a small competitor and creating a clear focus on two key customer niches – as a secondary supplier to large pharmaceutical companies and primary provider to smaller companies neglected by the multinationals.
Medica has a strong workforce and reputation, and with the changes implemented in the last 18 months has a highly efficient and effective facility in Crewe. We believe there is capacity to double the size of the business in terms of both supply and demand, but the pharmaceutical packaging business is extremely sticky and slow-moving (which Medica has benefited from as is has rung significant internal changes) and so our approach will be patient and long-term. We are constantly looking to absorb smaller plants and in due course will look at larger opportunities for new sites, but for the time being we are backing a strong management team to take the revenue forward.