Belfast Telegraph

Leckey suffers pre-tax losses of £344k after a 'challenging' year

By Chris McCullough

A Northern Ireland manufacturer of healthcare products that support posture for children and adults with disabilities has reported a pre-tax loss of £344,010 in its accounts for the year ending September 2016.

Lisburn-based James Leckey Design Limited said its turnover for the year remained stable and dropped only slightly from £16m in 2015 to £15.5m in 2016.

The company is well-known for manufacturing the Upsee, which is a children's harness created by an Israeli mother for her young son who had cerebral palsy.

It sells the Upsee and other forms of equipment for children through Fireflyfriends.com.

Leckey's latest accounts returned a pre-tax loss of £344,010, after a pre-tax profit of £164,190 the year before.

The company, established in 1983, said the turnover reflected "no sales growth and a challenging year for the business across all markets".

In a strategic report accompanying its accounts the company said: "Pressure on NHS budgets in the UK market is driving a need to extend the lifespan of equipment to get more value from spend through reissuing equipment to a greater number of users."

And it also took on new sales advisers and rebranded its sales and distribution in the US as Vida.

"Under the Vida brand the company created separate sales teams for its occupational therapy, physiotherapy and mobility product ranges," the report said.

"The new teams are settling in well and the directors are positive the changes made will help the UK market return to positive sales growth."

Leckey paid out a total of £5.9m in wages, social security and pension costs to an average of 189 employees, including directors. The seven directors were paid £700,858 in total including pension contributions.

The report also recorded that Leckey's primary distribution partner overseas, Ottobock Healthcare, made a "surprising decision" to withdraw from the German market, meaning it had to find an alternative.

"It decided to launch Vida Global Gmbh which has quickly established itself as a serious competitor," it said.

Leckey praised its online business Firefly which "grew very strongly during the year" and has now reached break-even. It is expected to "contribute significantly" to profits this year.

Leckey said: "While the overall result for the group is disappointing, the directors are satisfied with the sales channel improvements and the progress of Firefly will help to return the company to good sales growth and profitability in the next financial year".

The Upsee is now distributed in more than 30 countries.

The Upsee was manufactured by James Leckey (below) after an Israeli mum created it for her son with cerebral palsy

Belfast Telegraph

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