Omega soars as top team boost shareholdings

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Shares in life sciences firm Omega Diagnostics jumped yesterday after revealing that its chairman and chief executive had topped up their holdings in the company.

The Alva-based maker of medical testing kits, which earlier this week posted a surge in half-year profits, said chairman David Evans bought 173,500 shares at 15p each on Thursday. The purchase, worth more than £26,000, took his total stake to 2.8 per cent.

Evans told investors on Wednesday that the company shared their “frustration” over delays to its Visitect CD4 kit for testing the immune systems of HIV patients as it announced adjusted pre-tax profits of £562,639 for the six months to the end of September, up from £427,263 a year earlier.

CD4 had encountered setbacks during testing in Kenya, leading Omega to warn last month that the system would not generate any sales in the financial year to March. It has now drafted in extra resources and brought control over its outsourced manufacturing process in-house temporarily.

However, the company has said it is “optimistic” about the performance of its core business in the second half of the year, particularly in the market for food intolerance testing.

Omega also said chief executive Andrew Shepherd bought 30,974 shares at 17p each yesterday through his self-invested personal pension. Shepherd’s total beneficial holding stands at 2.5 per cent. The shares finished the session up 28.8 per cent or 4.25p at 19p.