Aesica eyes expansion in both US and Europe

FAST-growing pharmaceuticals company Aesica has made its third acquisition in four years and says it is eyeing more takeover targets in Europe and the US.

Aesica, Cramlington

FAST-growing pharmaceuticals company Aesica has made its third acquisition in four years and says it is eyeing more takeover targets in Europe and the US.

The Newcastle-based business with factories in Cramlington, Kent and North London, has added Nottingham-based research and development company R5 to its portfolio.

R5, which develops and manufactures new medicines and clinical trial materials, will keep its branding as a subsidiary of Aesica.

Aesica chief executive, Robert Hardy, said: “We’d been looking at it for a while.

“We have been partners for a while doing work together. We are already finding that we have got business we didn’t do in the past which we can now pass on to them and there are larger projects they can pass on to us.”

The acquisition adds 50 staff to Aesica, which now employs 750 people, including 160 in the North East. Mr Hardy now expects more jobs to be created on the back of the R5 deal but he was unable to give a precise figure.

The North East company, which was formed in 2004 in a management buy-out of the former BASF site at Cramlington, is now one of the top suppliers of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and formulated products for the pharmaceutical industry worldwide.

Mr Hardy said bringing R5 on board was part of the company’s strategic plan to become the world’s leading supplier for this niche, in addition to adding new clients.

Aesica, which last month revealed its annual turnover jumped by 57% to £90m while pre-tax profits shot up to £15m from £2.2m, has recently opened US offices in New York and San Diego. It also has a site in Shanghai.

Mr Hardy said the company is currently considering a number of takeover targets overseas as part of its expansion plans.

“We are still looking overseas for a formulation manufacturer in the US and Europe. That is where the next one will be,” he said.

“We are considering options at the moment but I can’t guarantee when they will come through.

“We export about 95% of what we manufacture; the majority of our business is overseas so from a customer perspective, it is good to have a base there.”

All Aesica’s manufacturing is done in the UK at the moment, but Mr Hardy said moves to make products abroad would be an expansion of the business that would not affect domestic production.

The company is one of the fastest- growing in the UK and has increased turnover by more than 300% in five years.

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