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Infection control business sees huge surge in demand during pandemic

PUBLISHED: 09:05 03 August 2020 | UPDATED: 09:56 03 August 2020

Tristel boss Paul Swinney is very pleased with the company's performance during lockdown  Picture: GREGG BROWN

Tristel boss Paul Swinney is very pleased with the company's performance during lockdown Picture: GREGG BROWN

A company which makes specialist disinfectant products suitable for hospitals saw a huge rise in sales at the height of the coronavirus outbreak.

Tristel traditionally has much larger instrument disinfectant sales but the pandemic has changed the picture  Picture: GREGG BROWNTristel traditionally has much larger instrument disinfectant sales but the pandemic has changed the picture Picture: GREGG BROWN

Newmarket-based Tristel’s turnover soared by 30% from £9.1m in the first four months of last year to £11.8m for the same period this year.

That was despite a fall in sales of its mainstay specialist cleaning products for medical instruments – after all but emergency procedures came to a standstill in UK hospitals.

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The performance offers a glimmer of optimism for the East of England’s economy as many businesses struggle to cope with the effects of the pandemic.

But the company had to adapt quickly as the pandemic took hold with a big swing in product demand, explained chief executive Paul Swinney in a trading update for the year ended June 30, 2020.

Tristel Duo mini bottles, which the company gave  out free to NHS staff to use at home during the pandemic  Picture: BRUCE HEADTristel Duo mini bottles, which the company gave out free to NHS staff to use at home during the pandemic Picture: BRUCE HEAD

An estimated £0.5m fall in its medical device decontamination product sales was countered by a £2m surge in hospital surface disinfection products sales – which had accounted for just 9% of sales previously.

Medical device decontamination product sales accounted for 61% of global sales during the period, while sales of hospital surface disinfection products accounted for 27%.

The fast-growing firm – which is based at Snailwell – spent £0.6m on acquiring 80% of Tristel Italia Srl from its local management while investing £1.2m in its new warehouse and office facilities in Newmarket.

It expects turnover to rise this year by 21% to reach £31.6m compared to £26.2m in 2019, with pre-tax profits seeing a similar rise to reach £6.8m.

Revenues from overseas markets have risen by 32% and contributed a record 60% of total revenues – but sales in the UK - Tristel’s most mature market – also saw a 7% increase, it said.

Its hospital surface disinfection products have historically been the less significant element of its product mix – although the global hospital surface disinfection market is far greater in value than the global medical device decontamination market.

Subsidiaries in the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, Hong Kong, China, Australia and New Zealand all achieved record sales levels. Stand-out performances included France where sales tripled to reach £1.75m, and China where sales more than doubled to nearly £0.5m.

Mr Swinney said the company was “ very pleased” with its performance during a turbulent period.

“To maintain the momentum that has built over the past four months we need hospitals, especially in the UK, to return to pre-COVID-19 levels of patient throughput,” he said.

“While we believe that hospitals will revert to more normal levels of activity, we cannot be certain as to timing.

“We also need hospitals to maintain the intensity of their cleaning and disinfection routines, searching for and selecting the best-performing disinfection technology, such as our chlorine dioxide-based products.

“We are cautiously optimistic for the company’s prospects in this financial year and beyond.”


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