Acquisitions boost Abcam full-year profit

(Reuters) - British biotechnology company Abcam Plc <ABCA.L> reported a 19.4 percent rise in profit, helped by the first full-year contribution from its acquisition of smaller peers Epitomics and Ascent Scientific.

The Cambridge, UK-based company, which produces and distributes antibodies and test kits for research, said it expected market conditions to remain challenging, especially in the Unites States, where the latest wave of budget cuts, or "sequestration" came into effect on March 1.

Abcam said it would accelerate organic growth and increase investment in areas such as marketing, e-commerce and operational infrastructure, by 3 million to 4 million pounds a year.

"In our view, management's evident insight into its core business should reassure investors that the opportunities it has alluded to are real," Numis analyst Charles Weston said In a note.

Abcam acquired U.S. peer Epitomics for $155 million in March 2012 and took over the development and distribution of rabbit monoclonal antibodies (RabMAbs) for research and diagnostics from the company, which has operations in China.

As opposed to antibodies derived from mice or humans, RabMAbs are developed from the rabbit immune system, which creates a more diverse range of antibodies, and are used to develop new drugs for cancer.

Abcam also acquired Ascent Scientific, a provider of biochemical reagents, for 10 million pounds in September 2011.

Full-year adjusted profit before tax rose to 46.6 million pounds ($73.26 million), for the year ended June 30, from 39 million pounds a year earlier. Revenue rose 24.9 percent to 122.2 million pounds million pounds. (

The company also proposed to raise its final dividend to 5.1 pence per share from 4.36 pence a year earlier.

Abcam shares were up 4 percent at 490 pence at 0804 GMT (3:04 EDT) on the London Stock Exchange. The stock has risen more than 10 percent over the past year.

(Reporting by Abhirup Roy in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane)