A healthcare company has opened up its UK head office in Yorkshire as it plans to expand across Europe.
Healthcare 21, which provides sales, marketing and logistics for big medical device manufacturers, says it was attracted to Leeds by the quality of staff.
The Anglo-Irish company has also opened offices in Austria and Germany and is aiming to expand further across Europe.
In addition to being its UK headquarters, Healthcare 21’s office in The Calls will also act as a European hub, that will help manage growth across the continent.
David Plotts, business development director at Healthcare 21, told The Yorkshire Post: “Leeds is also going to be our new European hub as well. We’re going to be managing our expansion into other European countries.
“We just opened an office last week just outside Frankfurt. While we’re going to have a sales force, a country manager and customer services over there - I’ll be managing it. I’m based here in Leeds. This is where we are going to be creating what we like to call our European headquarters.”
Mr Plotts says Healthcare 21 was attracted to Leeds because of the presence of other service-based firms. The company also has one eye on expanding its digital marketing operations.
He said: “That’s one of the reasons that attracted us to Leeds. The area that we’re in, in the Calls, we’re surrounded by really innovative, small digital media companies and design companies.
“That’s what has attracted us to Leeds as well as the really good dedicated, young workforce in Leeds.
“I can see the NHS executive headquarters up at Quarry House outside my window as well. That always reminds me of who we are ultimately working for.”
The parent company of Healthcare 21 is based in Cork, Ireland and has group sales over £50m. Annual turnover of its UK business is £17m. There are 190 staff across the group with 25 employed in the UK.
Initially there will be ten people based in Leeds but the firm is expecting to increase that number as the business grows across Europe.
“We’ve got a clear strategy and goal of wanting to expand into countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, possibly into Scandinavia as well,” Mr Plotts said.
Healthcare 21 wants Britain to remain in the EU, with Mr Plotts describing the firm as a “European” business.
He added: “As far as we’re concerned it makes sense for us to be a part of the European Union. We need to be able to move freely and without hindrance across Europe.
“We believe it’s important that the UK is a part of Europe because we’re a European company. That’s the way we see ourselves.
“We will continue to be a European company whatever the UK decides.”
In the event of a Britain leaving the EU, Mr Plotts says the firm will evaluate its UK operations depending on what sort of agreement is negotiated post-Brexit.
“I believe it would have an impact on us. As to the size of the impact we’re unsure at the moment, until some agreement is made,” he said.
Shared experience and trust key
Healthcare 21 UK was set up four years ago by UK managing director David Frederick following the success of its Irish parent company launched in 2003 by chairman Owen Curtin.
Frederick is a former vice-president of sales at Covidien, now part of Medtronic the world’s largest medical technology company, where he was responsible for 700 staff and a £700m turnover.
Mr Frederick said: “I have known Owen and many of the members of our senior management team at Healthcare 21 for many years and it is that shared experience and trust which I believe has been the secret to the exceptional growth.”