Keyhole surgery instruments maker Surgical Innovations has reported a strong rebound in the second half of 2018 after first half results were constrained by reduced activity levels in NHS surgery.
The Leeds-based group said it now looks forward to further progress in 2019 under the leadership of newly appointed CEO, David Marsh.
Surgical said revenues rose 25 per cent to £11m in the year to December and underlying pre-tax profit jumped 30 per cent to £1.4m.
The group said the market share momentum it achieved in the second half of the year has carried on into 2019 and it is confident about the outlook for the full year.
It said it has made contingency arrangements in the event that the UK exits the EU on March 29 without reaching a withdrawal agreement, although it is hopeful that these precautions will be unnecessary.
Mr Marsh said a number of factors contributed to the group's stronger second half.
"Our aggressive US pricing policy helped to displace competitors and secure key new account sales," he said.
"We also benefited from a simplified route to market across the Asia Pacific region by eliminating our master distributor arrangements, allowing us to offer a more direct focus on key distributors and this has been particularly successful in Japan."
In the UK, he said the change of pace in trading is due in part to a return to normal surgery levels, but also the reintroduction of the group's Cellis products following the reinstatement of CE marking.
Surgical said there was a rise in the number of cancelled NHS operations in the first half of the year.
"This improved once the winter flu crisis had been successfully weathered, but the additional Government funding for social care helped to ease the bed crisis that we’d seen earlier in the year, freeing up more beds for surgery recovery, as well as the beneficial impact of a drive to reduce waiting lists,” said Mr Marsh.
Speaking about contingency plans for a hard Brexit, he said: “The most important Brexit contingency action was to transfer to an EU domiciled notified body to ensure that our products remain certified for use across Europe.
"Also we are in the process of obtaining economic operator status which will ensure priority treatment at customs control, and we’ve been actively engaging with our suppliers and distributors to ensure our product pipeline is secure in the event of any customs delay.”
The group is on the hunt for acquisitions and said it is looking to expand abroad.
“We’re particularly keen to look at businesses offering additional product ranges that we can then feed through our existing distribution channels and that have manufacturing capability and inherent intellectual property," said Mr Marsh.
"We are keen to diversify our geographical spread and are interested in targets in the US or Europe.”
He said that the development pipeline has a number of exciting projects, in particular a new extension to the YelloPort Elite port access range, including a full range of disposable products.
The group also hopes to launch an innovative range of devices that will provide internal illumination for surgeons as they operate. It hopes to launch these towards the end of the year.