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Armstrong Medical's sales show healthy rise during Covid pandemic

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TG Eakin founder Tom Eakin

TG Eakin founder Tom Eakin

TG Eakin founder Tom Eakin

Respiratory equipment firm Armstrong Medical has revealed its sales grew by 33% during the pandemic, with profits up 39% to over £9m.

The figures, disclosed in the Coleraine-based company's most recent financial results which cover the year up until May 2020, also show pre-tax profits rose 89% compared to the previous period.

For the year, Armstrong Medical generated £18.7m in turnover, up from 2019's £14m. The company's profits sat at £3.6m, an increase on the previous year's £1.9m.

Armstrong Medical, which was sold to family run medical equipment company, Eakin Group, late last year, saw demand for its respiratory products grow significantly during the pandemic, expanding its global reach.

The new owner, Eakin, was founded by Tom Eakin and is based in Comber. TG Eakin, the main manufacturing firm within the Eakin group, is a much larger company, with pre-tax profits at £16m for the year ending March 2019.

It sells skin-friendly medical adhesives to distributors, wholesalers, hospitals and pharmacies for use by patients who have undergone surgery such as a colostomy, ileostomy or urostomy.

Speaking to Business Telegraph around the time of the sale, Jeremy Eakin, the managing director of Eakin, said the pandemic and the huge demand it has prompted for respiratory equipment, had not been a factor in driving forward the deal.

He said: "Covid-19 really was nothing to do with it, to be honest. Our two worlds collided in a positive way and it was a coincidence that it was the year of the pandemic.

"We had been in one therapeutic area of ostomy care and wound care for a long time, but for a considerable number of months, we had been putting our feelers out for expanding into another therapeutic area and looking into potential acquisitions.

"And I know now that John Armstrong, the founder of Armstrong Medical, had been planning on exiting the business, and was looking for ways to do that and potentially sell up."

According to its financial results, last year around 33% of Armstrong's product offering was sold into the EU with around 26% of sales done throughout the rest of the world. 41% of sales are within the UK.

Today, Mr Eakin says elevated sales during the pandemic have levelled out but, collectively, both companies are set to take on new markets in human healthcare.

"We always had it in our plans to diversify into different therapeutic areas and we were prepared to look further afield. We were proactively looking for acquisition and then we were approached by John.

"That Northern Ireland family-owned setup really fitted within our comfort zone and it is ripe for scaling and growing domestically and internationally," he said recently.

Armstrong Medical is not Eakin's first acquisition. Over the years, it has acquired other businesses that have allowed it to diversify, including Pelican, a Welsh colostomy manufacturer and smaller acquisitions of surgical businesses.

The healthcare boss said there is scope to increase the headcount at both firms, which together employ 650 people.

There are currently six jobs live for both Eakin and Armstrong.

Speaking recently to the NI Chamber of Commerce's Ambition publication, Mr Eakin said the firm had no plans to rebrand and would remain operating under the Armstrong brand while Eakin products would continue to sell under the Eakin name.

Belfast Telegraph


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