Belfast Telegraph

Healthcare company eyes lucrative export opportunities in Middle East

By Clare Weir

A Co Antrim healthcare company is developing export opportunities in the Middle East.

CIGA Healthcare in Ballymena, a specialist in self diagnostic tests, said exports to global markets including the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf were likely to provide up to 10% of the firm's business over the next year.

The firm, which employs 15 people, has taken part in a series of Invest NI missions. It now sells its SureSign branded diagnostic tests in 40 countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

It has also exhibited at the Invest NI stand in the Gulf Health exhibition in Dubai.

CIGA recently secured its first business in Libya following a partnership agreement with Jafara, a pharmaceuticals business in Tripoli.

Under the agreement CIGA's range of home tests for conditions such as high cholesterol and diabetes and its blood pressure monitors will be on sale in pharmacies in the country.

The company also expects to form partnerships during forthcoming missions to Kurdistan and the South East Asian markets of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Neill Armstrong, CIGA sales director, said that the products were initially designed and developed to meet the trend in the UK and other parts of Europe towards personalised healthcare.

"Over the past few years, we've seen this trend developing in other global markets beyond Europe and including more buoyant and increasingly affluent regions such as the Middle East and Arabian Gulf," he said.

"For instance, diabetes has reached epidemic proportions and this has led to a huge increase in demand for self diagnostic tests."