Belfast Telegraph

Almac adds 400 staff as pharma giant posts £27m profit

By John Mulgrew

Northern Ireland pharmaceutical giant Almac has posted pre-tax profits of £27m in a year which it says it grew its workforce by more than 400. Almac Group, which is based in Craigavon, said revenue at the global company was up 14% on the previous year, rising to £447m.

That's according to the latest company accounts, ending September 30, 2016.

However, the company saw a slight dip in pre-tax profits, dropping from £28m.

The firm said that previous higher figure including $20m (£15.5m) of income from "out-licensing oncology products and diagnostics tests developed in-house by Almac Diagnostics".

Employee numbers across the company rose by 12% to just shy of 4,000, with 2,650 of those employed in Craigavon. Staff numbers have increased by 421 in the space of a year.

The firm's group chief executive Alan Armstrong said: "2016 was a very successful year for Almac as we continued to deliver upon our global expansion strategy including investment of around £31m in new facilities, equipment and resources.

"All our profits are reinvested into the business enabling us to offer best-in-class services and products to our clients."

In 2016 the company said it "saw significant investment on expanding" its base in Pennsylvania in the US.

The company also recently announced a £5m investment at its campus in Craigavon to "build an additional lab and office facility".

The Almac Group is an established contract development and manufacturing organisation providing integrated services to the pharmaceutical and biotech sectors, right across the globe.

It was one of the first big Northern Ireland firms to make a major business decision as a direct result of Brexit.

Earlier this year it announced a new facility in Dundalk, Co Louth, to guarantee continued single market access following Brexit.

Almac told a House of Commons committee in February, that it had not been in a position to wait and see the outworkings of the UK departure from the EU.

The company had instead decided to open up a facility in Dundalk to provide reassurance to export customers that its access to the single market would continue following Brexit.

Company executive director Colin Hayburn told the NI Affairs Committee: "If the border turns into something of further hindrance to our work, then we would have to consider more operations being done in Dundalk."

But he said the firm would not be moving jobs from Craigavon. "It's to protect those jobs in Craigavon that we need to find solutions for the EU, which is why we need this facility in Dundalk."

He said the Dundalk facility was a "safety-net" for the company.

Last year the company announced investment plans totalling £31m to expand its operations in Europe and North America, increasing its global headcount to reach 5,000 by the end of this year.

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