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Newmarket: Contamination control company Tristel confirms return to profit

10:52 03 March 2014

Paul Swinney, chief executive of Tristel.

Paul Swinney, chief executive of Tristel.

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Infection prevention and contamination control company Tristel today confirmed a return to bottom line profitablity following a major review of products and markets.

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Tristel, based at Snailwell, near Newmarket, reported a pre-tax profit of £723,000 for the six months to December 31, compared with a loss of £2.66million at the same stage a year ago, which reflected a series of impairment charges and other one-off costs.

Strong trading during the second half saw the company reduce the loss to £1.74m for the year to June 30, 2013, and today’s results, which follow an upbeat trading statement in January, confirm that the progress has been maintained during the first half of the current year.

Total revenue was 46% up compared with last year’s first half, at £6.44m against £4.40m, including a 45% increase in overseas sales, to around £2m against £1.4m.

Besides the absence of last year’s exceptional costs, the profit figure also benefited from an improvement in gross margin, to 70% from 64%, and the interim dividend will rise to 0.36p per share against 0.08p last time.

The company has turned around the fortunes of its flagship Tristel brand in the human healthcare sector by successfully targeting the decontamination of smaller instruments in hospital departments such as ear, nose and throat, cardiology and ultrasound as demand for its original endoscopy products has declined.

Sales for the division grew by 86% in the six months to December 31, to £2.2m from £1.2m, including 40% growth in overseas markets, to £1.5m from £1.1m. Tristel said that “significant footholds” had been established in countries including Germany, Italy and Australia, and the rate of overseas growth is expected eventually to overhaul that in the UK given the size of the world market.

Tristel is also diversifying beyond the human healthcare market, including its Crystel range of products for contamination control within pharmaceutical production, laboratories and hospital facilities preparing chemotherapy drugs, and the Anistel brand, aimed at infection control in the animal healthcare sector.

Chief executive Paul Swinney said: “The progress that we have made during the first half is a continuation of the recovery that started in the second half of last financial year and reflects the reshaping of the business that we have undertaken over the past two years.

“Revenue growth has been achieved in all areas and the progress made in the first six months has continued, with a strong start to 2014.”

He added: “Our business is now more diverse, in both geography and market segment, and we have really got on top of the difficulties we have faced in the last two years as we have reshaped the business.

“We are doing a good job in exporting great products to a lot of other countries, which is what the UK needs to be doing.”

Tristel employs around 50 people at its Snailwell headquarters, including around 20 on the production side which includes its own clean room facilities, with sales roles in the field taking its total workforce to 87.

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