'Quantum leap' for sterilants firm

A STERILISING products firm celebrating rising profits and turnover is set to expand its Newmarket headquarters to include a manufacturing plant.Tristel plc, an infection and contamination control business, based at the Lynx Business Park at Snailwell, is moving from its present 2,500 sq ft premises to a 9,500 sq ft site across the road in what was described as “a quantum leap” for the company.

A STERILISING products firm celebrating rising profits and turnover is set to expand its Newmarket headquarters to include a manufacturing plant.

Tristel plc, an infection and contamination control business, based at the Lynx Business Park at Snailwell, is moving from its present 2,500 sq ft premises to a 9,500 sq ft site across the road in what was described as “a quantum leap” for the company.

Up to 10 jobs may be created at the site as it brings manufacturing and packaging in-house as part of its growth plans.

At the moment, three new staff have been taken on at the site, as the firm prepares for the move, which is due to take place around April or May.

The company, whose core business is supplying instrument sterilants in solution and wipe form to UK hospitals, has seen its turnover rise by 44% over the 26 weeks to the end of last year after it bought Vernagene Ltd, a Bolton-based legionella and contamination control firm specialising in water treatment products, last year. It is now called Tristel Technologies.

Operating profit rose by 31.5% to £0.4million over the same period, according to interim figures released yesterday , while pre-tax profit was up 23.4% to £0.4million.

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Tristel Solutions, the core healthcare business, achieved an underlying increase in turnover of 9.2% to £1.95million as export sales continued to grow, while Tristel Technologies achieved sales of £0.62million. Overall turnover was £2.57million.

The firm is now planning to transfer the manufacture of all group products to the new production facility which is being established at Newmarket.

“In acquiring Tristel Technologies we have manufactured products for the first time in our corporate history,” explained Tristel chief executive Paul Swinney.

“With this experience and in order to gain tighter control over our expanding intellectual property portfolio, we have taken the important strategic decision to assume the manufacture of Tristel Solutions' products from our contract manufacturer.

“The acquisition of these manufacturing rights will increase gross margins and earnings once our new production facility is fully operational, which we anticipate will be in May 2007.”

Company chairman Francisco Soler said they had made “good progress” during the first half of the 2006/07 financial year.

“When we acquired Tristel Technologies we became a manufacturer of chemical solutions for the first time in our corporate history. The blending and bottling of Tristel Solutions' sterilant products has always been outsourced,” he explained.

“The production activities in Bolton will be re-located to Newmarket and we are assuming the manufacture of the sterilant products from our prime contract manufacturer.”

The transfer of manufacture and termination of the manufacturing agreement is set to cost £600,000.

The firm has recently launched new products including a range for general hospital surfaces and products for ultrasound departments.

Mr Swinney, said the firm, which has been at the Newmarket site since 1996, would not be shutting down anything, although a couple of people would be re-deployed in other areas among Tristel's 26-strong workforce.

“I think it's a quantum leap for the company. I think there are lots of benefits, commercial and financial,” he said.

“It's a growing up thing. I am very confident it's the right thing to do and it'll benefit the company in the years ahead.”