What it does
It has two arms: Health, which provides expertise, processes, intellectual property and market knowledge spanning the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, diagnostics, healthcare equipment and consumer health sectors.
And Signal, which provides “digital, social media and branding expertise” to companies, and is increasingly focused on health having previously been focused sectors such as technology and retail.
Cello’s big claim to fame is that it works with 24 of the top 25 pharmaceutical companies around the world.
How it is doing
In the six months to 30 June, Cello delivered net revenue of £54.5mln for the first six months of the year, which was up 6.8% on a year ago, with like-for-like constant currency net revenue up 4.5%.
Of the group’s two divisions, Health provided the bulk of growth, with revenue up 11.6% and like-for-likes of 8.2%, while Signal, which is historically second-half-weighted, was pretty much flat on a net revenue basis, with like-for-likes down 1%.
Underlying profit before tax and earnings per share for the first half were both up 12.7% to £5.7mln and 4.08p respectively, with PBT and EPS rising 40% on a statutory basis.
Keeping up its unbroken 13-year progressive dividend history, the interim payout was lifted 4.5% to 1.15p per share.
In October, Cello sold social media analytics business Pulsar to Access Intelligence PLC (LON:ACC) in exchange for £4.5mln worth of shares.
The AIM-listed health advisory group said the sale would enable it to concentrate investment in the expanding healthcare section as well as Signal, its marketing services division.
Pulsar, which has gross assets of £3.2mln, will still work for Cello in cases of “mutual client opportunity”.
What the boss says: Mark Scott, chief executive
"The first half of 2019 has continued to see strong growth from Cello Health, notably in the US market. Cello Health Communications and Cello Health Consulting have made particularly pleasing progress."
"Good revenue visibility for the remainder of the year gives us confidence for a strong full-year outcome."
What analysts say
House broker finnCap said in a note dated September the healthcare outsourced advisory market, worth US$30bn, is "defensive and growing".
"In many respects the challenge is less about finding work but securing the staff to complete it. Consequently, management has over the past few years focused on hiring, training and retaining talent and the benefits are now coming through," analysts added.