Omega Diagnostics unveils bumper HIV test order as it trims half-year losses

Life sciences firm Omega Diagnostics has unveiled narrowing first-half losses as it announced a bumper purchase order for its flagship HIV testing kit.

The Alva life sciences business announced an order for 200,000 extra HIV test kits. Picture: Contributed

The Alva-based business, which specialises in tests for allergies, infectious diseases and food intolerance, saw adjusted pre-tax losses shrink to £350,000 in the six months to 30 September, compared with £510,000 for the same period in 2018.

Revenues increased by 6 per cent to £4.46 million, in line with a trading update issued in October.

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However, the life sciences group swung to a statutory loss of £290,000, plunging from profits of more than £1m one year earlier, following a significant restructure.

Alongside its half-year results, Omega also revealed it had secured an order for 200,000 Visitect CD4 350 tests from Nigeria, adding to an initial 50,000 requirement placed by the same client in August.

The combined order total which is worth around £1m according to analysts at FinnCap, remains conditional upon the Nigerian Ministry of Health approving the test into its national HIV policy.

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The business announced in September that shareholders had committed to pump £1.7m into the company to ensure sufficient working capital to push ahead with the commercialisation of the flagship test.

Omega also secured a second purchase orders for its food detective test kit earlier this year from a partner in China, with an order value of about £400,000.

'Well positioned for growth'

The news follows a year of transformation for the business, which in 2018 took the decision to divest its non-core infectious disease business – offloading the arm to French group Novacyt for up to £2.2m – and to close the German allergy business as it looked to trim costs.

Interim chairman William Rhodes said: “I am encouraged that we continue to make progress across all three divisions. Our financial performance was aligned to our expectations and is further indication that the restructuring we undertook in the prior year is having a positive impact.

“The recent fundraise also provides us with sufficient funding to implement our short term strategies, and I would like to thank all our shareholders who participated.

“In summary, we have continued to make progress against our plans, and are well positioned for near-term growth in both our food intolerance and CD4 business units.”

Analysts at FinnCap said the results were “in line with the 22 October trading update, reflecting the financial benefits of closing its German business and selling the infectious disease business”. The investment house left its target share price unchanged at 25p.