Belfast Telegraph

Slow US growth for Andor

By Margaret Canning

A digital camera maker which is one of Northern Ireland's few listed companies has reported slow growth in the US in its latest trading update.

AIM-listed Andor told its annual general meeting in west Belfast yesterday that overall trading in the first four months of its financial year had been "in line with the board's expectations" despite what was happening across the Atlantic.

The firm, which employs around 300, started as a Queen's spin-off in 1989 and makes scientific digital cameras for academia, industry and government.

Chairman Colin Walsh said: "Asia Pacific continues to deliver strong revenue growth and Europe is performing well.

"The US was slower in the first quarter, largely due to uncertainty over funding allocations - however, this situation has improved since December."

Mr Walsh said two new products were launched in January - a 60% faster EMCCD camera and an updated Neo camera, which had been "well received" in the marketplace.

He said the company's new technology acceleration centre, which was set up for staff to focus on getting new products to market more quickly, was also performing well.

New product from the centre was expected in the second half of the financial year, he said.

Mr Walsh added: "Innovation and new product delivery is key to Andor's continued growth. While market conditions remain challenging, the board remains confident about the outlook for the business."

In full-year results for the year to September 2011 announced in November, profits were up 37% to £9.7m while turnover was 34% up to £57.4m - marking the 14th year of growth for the company.

Its closing order book had also grown by £400,000 to £13.8m.

It also announced an £18m investment in November, creating 166 new jobs, as part of a five-year strategy to target acquisitions and new markets.

Andor is to hold a capital markets day on March 1 for analysts and investors at its Belfast HQ at Springvale Business Park.

Business Secretary Vince Cable toured the Andor plant on a visit to the province last month.