A growing pharma firm is expanding its North Tyneside factory – as well as its geographical footprint – after being snapped up by a London healthcare investor.
Cramlington-based Sterling Pharma Solutions, which specialises in developing and making active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), was acquired by healthcare investment advisor GHO Capital in February, with the company pledging to support Sterling through the next phase of its growth.
Just a month after the firm’s acquisition, Sterling made its own strategic purchase, buying up US firm CiVentiChem’s facility in North Carolina, an addition designed to boost its chemistry development capabilities and bolster the services offered from its site in the North East to the lucrative US market.
Accounts for Sterling for the year ended March 31 detail how it completed the first phase of a significant investment at its Dudley site, created to give it additional small scale manufacturing capacity, and how more work is on the way.
The strategic report says that “further strategic investments continue at Dudley. These investments scheduled to complete by December 2019, will extend the service offering to the pharmaceutical market and increase the revenue generating capacity of the business.”
The accounts show revenue grew from £55.43m to £56.44m over the year, although operating profit fell from £11.17m to £8.31m.
Last year’s overall profit figure of £7.85m was impacted by exceptional costs incurred as part of its acquisition by GHO Capital of £7.583m, resulting in an overall loss after exceptional items, interest and tax of £1.26m.
A total of 22 new people also joined the business, taking the workforce to an average of 388. It also has a further 23 members of staff at its North Carolina site.
The accounts, published in the firm’s 50th year, include how Sterling is continuing to diversify, adding: “The Sterling business offering is well respected in the market place and Sterling continues to experience record market traction with all commercial performance indicators being exceeded in the year.
“Based upon the current order position, the significant sales potential of a number of new products currently under development at the company and the large portfolio of new business opportunities being pursued, the directors are confident that the company can continue to increase sales and profitability.”
Kevin Cook, CEO of Sterling, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating a landmark 50 years in business this year. The site has grown considerably over the past decade and Sterling continues to work towards creating a global chemistry service business. Despite our growth, we remain dedicated to keeping our HQ in the North East of England.
“This year we were also awarded a Queen’s Award for International Trade for Outstanding Short Term Growth in overseas sales, a huge achievement and a step toward cementing Sterling as a key player in the global market.
“Now we’re looking toward the next few years which will hopefully see us continue to expand our presence both in the UK and overseas, particularly in the North American market. In line with this, we recently appointed Dr. Mathew Minardi as our new president US operations to advance our global growth strategy.
“It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Sterling family and it’s great to be able to continue bringing international business to the North East.”