Derry medical packaging firm seals £20m pre-tax profit after 20% surge in sales to Europe

Turnover at Nelipak’s Campsie-based operation has grown by 60% since 2019 acquisition

Front of Nelipak Healthcare Packaging's manufacturing operation, in the Campsie Industrial Estate, Co Derry.
Nelipak Healthcare Packaging's manufacturing operation, in the Campsie Industrial Estate, Co Derry.

US-owned Nelipak Healthcare recorded a pre-tax profit of £20.2 million for its Co Derry-based business in 2023, new accounts show.

The sterile packaging company, based at Campsie Industrial Estate, saw its turnover grow by 15% to £110 million in the year-ending December 31 2023, some £14.4m up on 2022.

It followed a 30% surge in sales recorded by the company in 2022.

The new report, published by Companies House, shows significant growth in Nelipak’s sales to Europe in 2023, increasing by £12m (20%) year-on-year to £72m.

That was partially offset by an 11.5% fall in sales to Asia, which totalled £20.7m last year.

Sales to ‘North America and rest of the World’ increased by £5m (41%) to £17.2m.

Last year’s profit-before-tax increased £5.6m (38%) year-on-year.

The Derry operation, originally founded by Dr Alan McClure in 1995 as Perfecseal, was set up to supply sterile packaging to the medical device industry in Europe.

The business was sold in 1996 to Wisconsin’s Bemis Inc, then the largest flexible packaging firm in the US.

When Dr McClure retired as president and chief executive in 2003, Perfecseal had grown to be the second largest sterile medical device packaging company in the world.

In June 2019, Bemis Inc was acquired by Australian packaging group Amcor.

Two months later, Amcor sold Bemis Healthcare Packaging Europe to Kohlberg & Company, the private equity owner of Nelipak.

The deal included three Bemis plants in Derry, Clara in Co Offaly and Elsham in England,

All three sites were merged with the Nelipak group and rebranded.

The US packaging group, which is headquartered in Rhode Island, now employs 1,400 people across 11 manufacturing sites worldwide.

The latest accounts for Nelipak Healthcare Packaging Ltd, its Derry-based business, show the firm’s turnover has grown by 60% since 2019.

The report, published by Companies House, reveal its workforce averaged 276 in 2023, its lowest headcount since 2016.

Despite the slight fall in staff numbers, Nelipak’s wage bill increased by 13.4% year-on-year to £12.4m in 2023.

In a brief summary of the business in 2023, the directors described last year’s performance as “satisfactory”.

The report added: “The directors have plans in place to ensure the company is strongly placed to retain its market position and continued profitability.

“Since the year end performance to date has been encouraging.

Nelipak Healthcare’s net assets increased 28% year-on-year to £80m, with the company facing a 2023 tax bill of £2.87m.