Belfast Telegraph

Andor Technology is on track for more growth

By Symon Ross

Andor Technology expects its revenues to grow by more than 20% this year and is on the look out for further acquisitions, according to the company’s chief executive.

The Belfast-based firm, which develops and manufactures high-performance scientific digital cameras and microscopy systems for academic and industrial use, has recorded revenue growth of 30% on average per year over the last 12 years.

Chief executive Conor Walsh told the Belfast Telegraph that he expects this to continue. “This year we are forecasting our revenue will be up around £40m.

“I don’t see any reason for the foreseeable future we can’t maintain these sorts of growth levels. Business is very strong, the opportunities are still out there, we have a strong pipeline of technology that we have started that will filter through and become sellable to the market.”

The company, originally a spinout from Queen’s University, reported turnover of £33.1m for 2009 and operating profit of £3.4m. It reports its interim results next month.

Andor now employs 248 people after acquiring Switzerland-based firm Bitplane in December.

Bitplane, a microscopy image analysis software company specialising in medical and life sciences is the sort of company Andor is looking to buy more of,” said Mr Walsh.

“We would like to continue down this road of adding on acquisitions, but only ones that meet certain criteria,” he said.

“With Bitplane we got a company that is a global business, is a leader in its field. They have seen rapid growth and are highly profitable, and have great people and great culture. We looked at tens of companies before we decided Bitplane was the one we wanted to acquire. We will be very selective around that kind of criteria.”

The Andor managing director said that the weakness in sterling has provided a boost to the company, which exports a high percentage of its products to overseas markets.

“It is fantastic. When sterling was up around $2 it was extremely difficult for an exporter. The rates we’re seeing at the moment are very favourable to net exporters, which we are,” he said.

Andor has a presence around the world but is targeting growth in India, China and Asia Pacific in particular in the coming year as these markets are growing faster than other large markets such as the US.

Mr Walsh believes the firm’s products, and the way the company is developing its portfolio has put it in a strong position to compete in these markets. Where Andor used to just provide cameras it now provides solutions to customers too.

“We have very good core technology that there’s demand for all round the world. We invest a lot in innovation to have something to set us apart from the others.

“If you’re going to sell from Belfast to Beijing you better have something that makes you stand out.”

Mr Walsh added that the company is able to recruit a lot of its staff from Northern Ireland but would like to see more people studying technical and complex subjects at university.

“Generally it would be great to see more people going through those hard science subjects,” he said.

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