A Belfast company specialising in the manufacture of scientific cameras has reported a 35% fall in pre-tax profits from £17.1m to £11.1m in its latest accounts.
Revenues at Andor, which is based at Springvale in the west of the city, were down 10% from £63.8m to £57.5m in the year to the end of March 2021. However, its staff numbers grew from 259 to 272.
As well as digital cameras, the company also makes imaging systems and software for research in life science and physical science.
At £22m, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for the largest proportion of its sales compared to other geographical markets.
According to its company report, which has just been filed at Companies House, end uses by its customers range from “understanding the formation of distant stars to the development of anti-cancer therapies”.
In a statement, the company – led by chief executive Kristian Laskey – said the pandemic had taken a toll on the business.
“Whilst the underlying growth drivers for our end markets remain robust, Covid-related issues such as temporary end customer site closures and restricted access, combined with protracted administrative processes, impacted individual application segments and customers across different regions by varying amounts throughout the year,” he said.
Academic markets were particularly affected, while order growth fell in Europe where customer activity, local restrictions and reduced access were more pronounced.
Revenue was also affected by Covid-related delays in obtaining export licence approvals.
First-quarter revenue was “significantly impacted” due to access restrictions at company sites, while capacity was cut at its own manufacturing site as Covid-safe practices were introduced.
But the impact eased as the year progressed, he said. "With restrictions easing at customer sites and a ramping to normal capacity at our manufacturing site, revenue momentum built strongly, particularly in the second half of the year.
“Increased investment in both targeted research and development programs and expansion of global presence has increased net operating expenses.
"In addition, foreign exchange losses and the reduction in dividend income has decreased profit before tax.”
He said the health of staff had been a priority during the year, as well as maintaining investment in the business for the long-term.
He added: "Through our phased approach we took swift action to help keep employees safe, provide continuity of service for our customers globally and control our discretionary costs.”