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Home » Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Pharmaron’s Cramlington Base Set For Investment Despite Losses

Pharmaceutical Manufacturer Pharmaron’s Cramlington Base Set For Investment Despite Losses

Losses have narrowed at Cramlington’s Pharmaron amid a year of continued investment in the site.

New results for the Chinese-owned business – formerly called Aesica – show operating losses fell from £24.4m to £13.7m in 2023 as revenues rose from £5.09m to £7.48m. Bosses said the Windmill Industrial Estate firm, which specialises in the production of active pharmaceutical ingredients, has the backing of its parent company, Beijing-based life sciences giant Pharmaron, in planned expansion.

The firm has posted operating losses since 2020 when it suffered a temporary shutdown of all production owing to a “significant, unexpected incident”. But that has not stopped Pharmaron, which acquired the facility in early 2022, from eyeing development of the site, which employs about 140 people.

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In the latest accounts, Pharmaron said it was reviewing plans to develop the Northumberland location and that it had approved £5m of investment into the 177,000 sqft factory, including its technical capabilities. The firm said it has a long term ambition to improve the flexibility of the site meaning it can accommodate shorter production runs as well as long term contracts

Elsewhere in the accounts, directors pointed to a number of exceptional items that made up recent losses but which it said did not reflect underlying performance. Those included £4.3m of costs associated with Pharmaron’s acquisition in 2022; a £1.2m hit created by mutual agreement with the firm’s largest customer to cancel its contract and stop production, again in 2022; and in 2023, releases of an onerous contract liability totalling £100,000.

During the 2023 year under review, the plant drew the majority of its revenue from the UK market (£3.1m), a change on the previous year when the UK constituted only £1.2m of revenue and the rest of the world made up £2.5m, compared with £1.5m last year.

In documents attached to the accounts, Pharmaron director Stephen Lewinton said: “The long-term strategic plan for the site is to increase operational flexibility, so that both shorter production runs as well as semi-continuous and long-term production can be supported, to service a wider group of clients. This will involve reconfiguration of both operations and infrastructure over a period. The business development team will work closely with the site to maximise the potential revenue streams available.

“The strategic development of the site has continued in 2023 with the approval of a further £5m of capital investment in modular configuration and upgrade of technical capabilities. Investment in some structural improvements were supported by a temporary halt to production of the Generic product.”

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