More growth for Tristel plc

Tristel, the public-listed infection and contamination control business based just outside Newmarket, announced yesterday it was looking to almost double turnover by 2008 on the back of increased opportunities from product development, acquisitions and expansion overseas.

By Kate McNally

Tristel, the public-listed infection and contamination control business based just outside Newmarket, announced yesterday it was looking to almost double turnover by 2008 on the back of increased opportunities from product development, acquisitions and expansion overseas.

The company reported turnover up 24% to £3.75 million for the 12 months to end June 2006 and pre-tax profits of £720,000.

In early June it completed the £1 million acquisition of Vernagene Ltd, a firm specialising in water treatment products, which contributed sales of £94,000 to Tristel's results released yesterday.


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Historically Tristel's core business is in the development of chemical decontamination products for medical instruments in hospitals. In 2005, the company listed on AIM in order to finance a rapid growth strategy into new product markets and new territories. It hopes to achieve turnover close to £6 million by 2008.

As well as the acquisition of Vernagene in June, the company has developed decontamination products for the environmental hygiene market, has teamed up with Johnson Diversey to diversify into the pharmaceutical industry, and has penetrated 14 export markets over the past year.

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Its new environmental hygiene range, called 'Tristel Fusion for Surfaces', is aimed primarily at the healthcare industry. The products were devised from the same patented chlorine dioxide chemistry that created Tristel's widely-used medical instrument sterilants.

“One of the reasons for poor standards of hygiene in hospitals is that the focus slackened. Soapy water was being used to wash down wards,” said Mr Swinney. “They are now waking up to the realisation that the same standard of disinfection is needed for cleaning floors and walls as for medical equipment.”

He added: “All these initiatives were started last year in order to continue to grow rapidly and keep ahead of the competition.

“Our targets will be achieved by all three drivers of this growth strategy succeeding, but probably the biggest opportunity is through expanding our disinfectants into general services with the Fusion range.”

Mr Swinney said the growth strategy was aimed at taking advantage of opportunities in a “dynamic” marketplace, and also at reducing the company's exposure to the NHS.

In May, Tristel downgraded its earnings forecast due to a marked slow-down in NHS spending in the last quarter of its financial year.

“It was the first time we had experienced this,” said Mr Swinney. “NHS managers were being told not to buy in anything unless they absolutely needed it - there was a lot of de-stocking. Then it returned to normal once the new financial year started. We don't know if this will happen again next year.

“However as we go into other markets and expand overseas, we lessen our exposure to the NHS.”

He confirmed that further acquisitions were also likely.

“Certainly in the water treatment marketplace, which is very fragmented, it's a real possibility. But our prerogative for the next six months is to bed things down and make sure we deliver on everything.”

Commenting on Tristel's annual results, chairman Francisco Soler said: “This has been another year of solid progress for Tristel. We have achieved strong growth in turnover, improved margins, and have increased operating profit and pre-tax profit significantly.

“We have entered the current financial year with a stronger, better balanced mix of activities and products than we have had in the past.”

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