Aesica on target despite job cuts

A PHARMACEUTICALS company from Northumberland says it is still on target to treble sales to £150m in three years, despite having to axe 50 jobs.

A PHARMACEUTICALS company from Northumberland says it is still on target to treble sales to £150m in three years, despite having to axe 50 jobs.

Aesica, based in Cramlington, has been on an impressive growth spurt in recent months including two substantial acquisitions which have tripled sales.

But the loss of a potentially lucrative contract with a US company left Aesica saying it had no option but to cut jobs from its 160-strong workforce in Cramlington.

Yesterday executives said it was disappointing to have to make redundancies, but the company was still on track for longer term growth.

Aesica is now in the midst of a 30-day consultation period with staff before confirming the extent of the job losses necessary.

The company’s staff council and the Usdaw and Unite unions are in talks with management about the job losses.

Yesterday, finance director Adam Sims said: “This is very disappointing news for Aesica, but we are very much committed to the long term future of this site.

“We have taken the company from £20m sales to £60m, and we are a success story for the North East.

“We are headquartered here and owned by people in the region. Cramlington will come again.”

Such has been Aesica’s success in the last year, the company was the highest climber in The Journal’s new Top 250 listing of the North East’s biggest companies, rising from position 241 to 115.

Mr Sims added: “We are still aiming for £150m by 2010 – that is still clearly within our grasp. Being a contract manufacturer, there are more contracts which will come Cramlington’s way. We hope that this time next year, we will be further up the Top 250 table and talking about taking people on.”

On the current redundancy situation, human resources director John McConnell said: “We are currently in consultation in relation to laying off in the region of 50 people at the Cramlington site.

“Over recent months, we have been scaling up for a major contract, but we found out two weeks ago that has not come through. The potential contract was for a product we’ve been working on for a number of years for a US company called Myriad.

“We had been working on phase three trials and the product did not show efficacy.”

Aesica also owns a factory in Ponders End, North London, bought from Merck in October 2006 and one in Queenborough, Kent, bought from Chicago-based healthcare company Abbot.

We are still aiming for £150m by 2010 – that is still clearly within our grasp

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