Export growth drives strong first half for Snailwell-based Tristel

Paul Swinney, chief executive, and Liz Dixon, chief finance officer, outside the company's headquart

Paul Swinney, chief executive, and Liz Dixon, chief finance officer, outside the company's headquarters at Snailwell, near Newmarekt. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Tristel, the infection prevention and hygiene products company based near Newmarket, yesterday posted strong first half growth in both sales and profits.

The company, which supplies the human and animal healthcare markets and the contamination control sector with products based on a proprietary chlorine dioxide formulation, said revenues for the six months to December 31 were 8% higher compared with a year earlier at just over £8million.

Overseas sales rose by 20% to £2.9m, representing 36% of total sales, with the increase led by strong growth in Hong Kong and China.

Growth in UK sales slowed during the first half to 2%, partly due to Britain being a mature market but also reflecting a deliberate move to ease back on the sale of some high-volume but low-margin non-chlorine dioxide products as part of a focus on margins and cost control.

Pre-tax profits before share-based payments grew by 36% to £1.5m and the interim dividend will rise by 95% to 1.14p per share.

Tristel, which is based in Snailwell and has a UK workforce of 80, is seeking to break into more overseas markets, including what it has termed “the big one” – the United States

Chief executive Paul Swinney said: “We are pleased to report strong half-on-half profits growth, which has translated into an increase in cash and a substantial increase in the interim dividend.

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“Overseas sales accounted for 36% of total revenue and increased by 20% during the period. Our international expansion continues with many regulatory approvals awaited, not only in healthcare markets in which we already sell, but also in countries in which we have no presence. This includes the United States.

“Two products have been selected for our approach to the US market, and we are in dialogue with the FDA in preparation for a full regulatory approval submission during 2016.”

Chief finance officer Liz Dixon told the EADT that the initial response from the FDA (the US Food & Drug Administration) had been positive and Tristel hoped to have meeting with the authority by the end of May, opening the way for full clinical trials.

Approval for the first two products involved in the US process, for opthalmology and ultrasound use, could follow before the end of the company’s next financial year in June 2017, she added, although this timeline is not definite.