Medical materials maker confident of finding buyer for polymer unit

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AORTECH, the former Glasgow life sciences firm now based in Utah, will hold talks in the New Year to sell its medical polymers business.

The Aim-quoted business, which produces plastics used to make medical devices, put the unit on sale earlier this year but failed to find a buyer due to its “dwindling cash position”.

After settling a legal dispute with big customer St Jude Medical on Christmas Eve, AorTech believes it is now in a much-stronger position to find a buyer because the threat of a potential “fire sale” has been removed.

Under the deal, AorTech will receive $3.9 million (£2.4m), with $3.4m due now and a further $500,000 on 31 March. St Jude will also buy AorTech’s factory for $250,000.

Chairman Bill Brown said the company will now look for a partner to develop its plastic heart valve technology, which has taken a back seat over the past year.

Brown, a former Edinburgh-based F&C fund manager, added: “We have succeeded in stabilising the company, we have a decent cash position and our contracts are now valuable.

“We will seek to take the company forward with a view to creating value for shareholders. This is likely to result in a double strategy of seeking a sale of the polymer business and a deal on the heart valve technology.”

His comments came as the firm posted a pre-tax loss of $1.5m for the six months to 30 September, compared with a profit of $250,000 a year earlier.

AorTech was founded in 1992 but closed its Bellshill plant in 2004 and moved first to Australia and then to the United States.