Turnover rises at TG Eakin but Brexit concerns cast a shadow
A Co Down medical devices company has said Brexit issues are presenting challenges to the business.
Family firm TG Eakin in Comber, which makes dressings for stoma and wound care, said there was a lack of clarity on tariff arrangements, regulatory affairs and the management of supply chains.
The company's stance was revealed as speculation emerged of a potential solution to the Irish backstop issue through an all-island food zone.
The backstop, proposed by Theresa May and accepted by the European Union as a solution to avoid a hard border following Brexit, has been rejected as "undemocratic" by her successor Boris Johnson.
A strategic report filed with TG Eakin's latest accounts said the business is working with suppliers and customers to provide assurances "that any short-term adverse impacts are minimised".
In its accounts for the 12 months ending March 2019, the business reported an increase in turnover from £31.8m to £33.6m, while pre-tax profits were steady at just under £16m.
Of its sales, £13.4m were generated in Europe, £17m in the rest of the world and just £3m in the UK. The company's workforce over the year had grown from 73 to 80.
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The report said that the trading performance of TG Eakin for the year was ahead of plan and reflects the impact of international markets, competitor activity, the investment in new production in Comber, investment in research and development and the mix of currencies in which it trades.
It added: "The company has performed well over many years and it is expected that it will continue to make progress over the medium term, despite increased competition and downward pressure on pricing globally."
Aiming to reduce over-dependence on any one market or any one product, the report said: "A major focus in the short and medium term will be product development and innovation, geographical expansion and increased automation and productivity to protect the company from increased competitive forces and downward pressure on pricing globally at a time of uncertainty of prices for certain raw materials."
The report added that the company had invested in solar power generation so that around 30% of electricity needed at its Comber site were being generated internally.