Efforts to diversify help offset decline at Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings

MEDICAL testing kit firm bosses say they have steadied the ship after a turbulent 18 months for Tyneside’s Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings.

MEDICAL testing kit firm bosses say they have steadied the ship after a turbulent 18 months for Tyneside’s Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings.

Announcing the Boldon-based firm’s final end of year results for 2012/13 chief executive Patrik Dahlen and group finance director Chris Yates said efforts to diversify have helped offset a continued decline in their previously core business.

But the pair are already looking to the future, with deals already signed that could safeguard jobs for years to come.

“It has been a challenging period of time,” said Patrik Dahlen, who saw revenues of £49.8m, down from £53.7m in 2012. “But we’re pleased with the year, as we have come through it a stronger company.

Dahlen said that while 50% of the firm’s revenues were still coming from the manual testing side of its business, he anticipated “very dramatic changes” in the coming 12 months, and that it would be surpassed by newer automated tests that the company was offering.

Such a turnaround would also help stabilise the businesses revenues, as much of the automated testing work involved longer contracts and a greater mix of conditions.

“Historically only 10% of our automatic work has been non-vitamin D testing,” he said. “But this last year it has been 20%, and the start of this financial year suggests it will increase further.”

The results show IDS’s automated testing revenues increased by 23.7% to £18.5m, while manual testing decreased by 25.1% to £25.3m.

Traditionally focussing on western Europe, Dahlen said the business also looks set to benefit from deals with French firm Diagnostica Stago, who are paying around £1m towards the development on a second generation of IDS’s iSYS testing system, and a distribution and research tie-up with China’s Beijing Leadman Technology Co.

“While we are looking to strengthen in western European and US markets, our main focus is on developing in BRIC countries,” Dahlen said.

“A month and a half ago we announced the deal with Leadman, who are going to distribute our technology in China and develop 50 assays on our automated platform.

“If they meet our standards then we can exclusively distribute them.

“Also in about a year, we hope to have approval from the Chinese equivalent of the FDA to use our tests, and Leadman then have a contract for 300 of our systems over three years.

“To put that into context we currently directly supply 263 systems to companies.”

Dahlen said he also had high hopes for growth in Brazil, Russia and India, and hopes to increase the number of staff in IDS’s sales and marketing team to support that.

Following the results IDS proposes to pay shareholders a dividend of 3p up from 2.75p in 2012.

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