Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Firm sets blistering pace as turnover rises by 40%

Sepha chief executive John Haran celebrates the results

An engineering firm which makes machines for the pharmaceutical industry has announced a 40% increase in turnover to £4m.

Sepha, which employs 32 people at its factory in Dundonald, said its results for the year to 2012 showed that turnover was up from £2.5m a year earlier.

The company, which makes leak testing, deblistering and blister packing machines, would not disclose a figure for profits and the results have not yet been disclosed to Companies House.

But it said profitability was "substantially up" on a year before, enabling it to make a "steady investment" in jobs.

Chief executive John Haran said the company's success was down to "an increased focus on direct customer engagement in the sales process, continued product innovation and product launches over the past two years, and thirdly being able to respond quickly to the purchasing requirements of major customers".

He added: "Rather than wait for new customers to visit our stands, with the assistance of Invest NI we have been able to visit new customers directly and provide demonstrations of our machines. This has proven extremely effective."

Sepha has deals with many of the world's biggest pharmaceutical manufacturers, such as Boots, Novartis, Wyeth and Bayer.

Around 95% of Sepha's sales are export, so that its specialist machinery is now being sold to pharmaceutical companies across the globe. In the past year the company has begun selling to Argentina, Colombia and New Zealand.

Employment has now grown 60% since 2009, and the company said many positions were filled by "high calibre" graduates who were now working in its research and development team.

Sepha has been making machines for the pharmaceutical industry since 1980. It was subject to an equity-backed buy-out led by fund management firm, Enterprise Equity, in 2005.