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Almac reports pre-tax profits of £28m on foot of increased licensing of its products

By Margaret Canning

Craigavon pharmaceutical giant Almac has reported pre-tax profits of nearly £28m partly due to increased licensing of its cancer tests and treatment.

Turnover was up nearly 15% from £341.6m to £393.6m on the firm's main activities in the USA and UK.

As well as its Craigavon base, the company has operations in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, California, Singapore and Japan.

In a strategic report with its results for the year ending September 30, the holding investment company said it received payments of $20m (£13.7m) for the outlicensing of oncology products and diagnostic tests, developed in-house.

But aside from the licensing payments, pre-tax profits were depleted by spending on long-term assets and increased amortisation charges on in-licensed products.

The company, which was founded by the late Sir Allen McClay and now is led by Alan Armstrong, said it continued to invest in research and development to improve services to customers.

It employs 3,554 people, including 2,762 in production. Numbers were up by nearly 8% on the year before.

The highest-paid director received around £637,000, including £50,529 in pension costs.

The company said performance could be affected by market pressure to cut prices, as well as low cost generic drugs.

In addition, countries with lower labour costs were also creating competition by providing services at a lower cost.

The firm said most of its revenues and expenses were conducted in sterling but that it had its main foreign exchange exposure to US dollars.

The firm spent £5.4m on research and development, which was up from £4m a year earlier.

Last year Almac and Queen's announced they had created a new therapeutic drug to slow tumour growth in the advanced stages of ovarian cancer. The firm also acquired Arran Chemicals in the Republic.

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