Belfast Telegraph

Profits at pharma firm Almac fall by 18% to £27m

But sales up 3% to £548m in year to September 2018

Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland pharmaceutical giant Almac has said the cost of further investment in its global business has led to an 18% fall in pre-tax profits from £33m to £27m.

However, turnover at the contract pharmaceuticals company, which is based in Craigavon, was up 3% from £531m to £548m in the year to September 2018. And staff numbers at the business, founded by the late Sir Allen McClay, were also up from 4,407 to 4,798.

Almac was one of the first Northern Ireland businesses to publicly announce plans to Brexit-proof its business when it unveiled plans to open a site in Dundalk, Co Louth in 2017.

The company's results have not yet been published on Companies House. But in a statement containing key figures, Almac said investments during the year included further development of its site in Dundalk, a multimillion-pound expansion of capacity at its site in Athlone, as well as further investment at its existing facilities in the UK, US and Asia.

Investments in Craigavon included a £20m cold store facility.

The company acquired BioClin Laboratories in Athlone in November 2017. It already owned Arran Chemical Company outside the Co Westmeath town.

But the firm told Business Telegraph that Craigavon remained its key site. "Almac invested more in its global HQ in Craigavon in the two years post-referendum than any other Almac site globally. Job numbers also increased more in Craigavon than any other site globally," it said.

Sign In

Alan Armstrong, group chief executive, said: "Almac experienced yet another strong year in 2018 with our key financial and global employee metrics increasing.

"We made significant progress on our ambitious growth strategy with the acquisition of BioClin Laboratories and the continued investment in our existing global facilities, in addition to increased headcount.

"With 100% of our profits reinvested into the business, we will continue to innovate and improve our wide range of services and products to ensure we provide the premium solutions our global client base relies on."

Asked about its present state of Brexit readiness, the company said: "Our European campus in Dundalk has provided reassurance to our global client base that Almac will provide continuity of service regardless of the outcome of Brexit.

"The site has been approved by the HPRA [Irish regulator the Health Products Regulatory Authority] and operations have already commenced on site."

But the company said it did not wish to comment on its preferred outcome to Brexit.

Belfast Telegraph