Belfast Telegraph

Belfast specialist camera firm sees its pre-tax profits rise 50% to £14.7m

A worker at the Andor Technology factory
A worker at the Andor Technology factory
Emma Deighan

By Emma Deighan

Belfast specialist camera company Andor Technology has recorded a rise in turnover of almost 20% to £75m last year with pre-tax profits also up by over 50% to £14.7m.

But looking to the year ahead, the company said it anticipated lower sales and profitability as a result of Brexit, salary inflation and a loss of key skills.

The results for the year ended March 31, 2019 show improvements at the firm compared to last year's figures, when revenue and pre-tax profits dropped by 8% and 24% respectively. But a directors' report filed with the accounts also reveals it closed branches in Japan and America in March last year.

Sales at Andor, which develops and manufactures high-performance scientific digital cameras for academic, industrial and government applications, were up 18.2% to £75.2m.

Just over 70% of the company's revenue came from customers outside the EU, with Asian and Pacific countries making up the company's biggest customer base of 36% followed by the Americas which account for 35% of customers. Andor saw both areas' revenue rise over the year while EU sales also rose from £14m to almost £17m.

The company is based in Springfield Business Park in west Belfast. In the report the company said it decreased its spend on research and development activities, from £5.5m in 2018 to £5.1m last year. It also reduced staff numbers by six to a team of 276.

The company, now part of Oxford Instruments plc, said continued success this year would depend on its ability to identify and mitigate any risks. The most significant risks would be a failure to innovate in line with its customers' needs, currency fluctuations, a lack of EU funding for new research and a short-term "hiatus" in UK funding.

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It said: "The company's operations expose it to a variety of financial risks that include foreign currency risk, interest rate risk, credit risk and liquidity risk. The company has in place a risk management policy that seeks to limit the adverse effects of these risks on the financial performance of the company. The board reviews and agrees policies for managing each of these risks on an ongoing basis."

That board includes Donal Denvir, Stephanie Quinn, Andrew Dennis, Gavin Hill and Ian Barkshire.

Two members of the board, former managing director Gary Wilmot and Thomas Curtis, resigned during the last financial year. Mr Wilmot has replaced Simon McDowell as chief executive at Kilwaughter Minerals in Larne.

Andor emerged out of the work by Dr Hugh Cormican, Dr Donal Denvir and Mike Pringle during their time at Queen's University during the mid-1980s.

They established the company in 1989, specialising in products that enabled its customers to perform light measurements previously considered impossible. The firm had been listed on the AIM but was delisted after it was acquired by Oxford Instruments for £176m in 2013.

Belfast Telegraph