Optos shares hit by sharp profit drop

SHARES in Optos, one of Scotland’s most promising technology companies, slumped to their lowest level for more than two years yesterday after a sharp drop in profits.

Pressure on health budgets in Europe and delays in the rollout of its retinal scanning device Daytona were blamed for a 90 per cent fall in profits at the Dunfermline-based firm in the first six months of the year.

Speaking to The Scotsman, chief executive Roy Davis admitted the company had not “delivered the numbers expected” but he said the “market opportunity and potential” for the company remained unchanged.

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It has also announced a restructuring of its operations in the UK and US which will mean a facility in Canterbury will close and research and development activities carried out there moved to Fife, where it employs around 150.

“In the last three years we have grown tremendously quickly, made two acquisitions and seen staff increase from 240 to 450. This realignment is about making sure we are best positioned for growth globally,” explained Davis.

For the six months to the end of March, pre-tax profits before one-off items were $700,000 (£460,000), down from $6.9 million for the same period a year ago. Total revenues fell to $73m, from $86.2m last time.

Sebastien Jantet of Investec, which has a “sell” rating on the shares, said the figures didn’t “make pretty reading”. Shares closed down 26.75p, or 16.7 per cent, at 133.25p.