Diagnostics firm reports big profits boost

Horsemeat contamination has had a positive impact on sales for a Scottish diagnostics testing company.

Despite the issue bruising parts of the meat and processed food sectors, the scientific exporter R-Biopharm Rhône is projecting sales of £7m by the end of this year and an increase in profits of 28%.

Yet the company, which employs 50 people and is 25 years old, is not putting the good news down to the horsemeat crisis entirely, noting a “strong drive” into international markets as a factor in its “extraordinary” growth.

The company makes diagnostic test kits for the agri-food industry and saw turnover rise to £6.4m in the 12 months to December 2012, an increase of 21.5% on the previous year. As a result, R-Biopharm Rhône is the most profitable subsidiary of its German parent company R-Biopharm AG.

Managing director Simon Bevis said: “We have been very encouraged by continuing successes in markets abroad. Sales in Asia are up by 50-60%, in Latin America we have seen a 50% increase and we have significant growth in Eastern Europe too.”

The company is planning to make new business with its new patented system, Immunoprep, which uses online analysis. “This automated process will supersede existing methods, which involve large amounts of manual work for lab staff, saving labs 25-30% of their costs,” it claimed.