Business

Sales soar as pharma giant Almac Group joins north's corporate elite

STRATEGY: Almac❝s headquarters in Craigavon
Gary McDonald Business Editor

SALES at Craigavon pharmaceutical giant Almac have soared in the last year to £447 million, putting it in the elite echelons of Northern Ireland's companies by turnover.

And in the period to last September, it recruited an additional 421 staff, taking its global workforce to 3,975 - an increase of 12 per cent on the previous year.

Almac, established nearly two decades ago by the late Sir Allen McClay, employs two thirds of that total (2,650) at its Co Armagh headquarters, which it insists will always be its key base and main centre of production.

That comes despite the company confirming earlier this year that it plans to open a 32,000 sq ft plant in Dundalk, supported by the Republic's Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through inward investment promotion agency IDA Ireland (Almac already has a facility in Athlone).

According to results published at Companies House, the global contract pharmaceutical development and manufacturing organisation had pre-tax profits of nearly £27 million.

Although that's a slight dip on 2015, that year's figures included $20 million of income from out-licensing oncology products and diagnostics tests developed in-house by Almac Diagnostics (no such R&D contribution was included in 2016 return).

Last year saw significant investment on expanding Almac's US headquarters site at Souderton in Pennsylvania in addition to leasing new office space in nearby Lansdale in response to increased client demand for its services.

The company also recently announced a £5 million investment at its global HQ campus in Craigavon to build an additional lab and office facility while further considerable investment has been made in other operational sites in North Carolina, Ireland and Asia.

And further investment is being planned as part of its global expansion strategy and is expected to be announced throughout the trading year.

Almac Group chief executive Alan Armstrong said: “2016 was a hugely successful year as we continued to deliver on our global expansion strategy including investment of around £31 million in new facilities, equipment and resources."

He added: "All our profits are reinvested into the business enabling us to offer best-in-class services and products to our clients.”

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