$4m defence contract boosts staff

TECHNOLOGY firm Kromek is gearing up for a rapid expansion that will see 100 staff recruited in three years after winning a $4m contract with the US Department of Defense (DoD).

TECHNOLOGY firm Kromek is gearing up for a rapid expansion that will see 100 staff recruited in three years after winning a $4m contract with the US Department of Defense (DoD).

Under the agreement with the DoD, the Durham University spin-out, based at Sedgefield’s NETPark, will supply equipment that can detect emissions from nuclear materials.

The firm is simultaneously planning full commercialisation of its X-ray imaging products in the medical, security, industrial inspection and defence markets with domestic airports a key market for its anti-terrorist equipment.

Kromek’s turnover in the year to April was £500,000 - but that figure is expected to run into millions over the next 12 months.

Although the company specialises in the security market, CEO Arnab Basu says the medical arena offered a long-term route to growth.

“It’s our biggest potential market. We are taking the world of X-rays from black and white into colour. Our technology gives us better means of producing accurate images and detecting anomalies in human tissue.”

He also said Kromek was bidding for contracts that should come to fruition early next year, adding “millions” to the company’s revenue base.

Mr Basu has been instrumental in turning Kromek - formerly Durham Scientific Crystals - from a two-man operation into an outfit employing more than 40 staff.

He is planning to boost the company’s presence in growth markets such as the US and more than treble employee numbers - including additional staff in Tees Valley.

Since it was formed in 2003, Kromek has secured more than £11m of private equity funding as well as around £1m of public monies to fund the development of its products.

Mr Basu said Kromek was now in a position to deliver a healthy return on investment.

“We are moving from research and development to commercialisation - primarily in the security market but also in industrial markets.”

Journalists

David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer