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14 February, 2006 - 12:01 By Staff Reporter

Abcam posts strong results and pushes into Japan

Online antibody retailer, Abcam combined a strong set of maiden interim figures with an announcement that it plans to expand into Japan.

Most exciting of all perhaps, was news of an interim dividend - an extreme rarity for an East of England bioscience company.

Sales in the half year to 31 December 2005 increased 63 per cent to £8.3m (H1 2005: £5.1m) and pre-tax profits increased 49 per cent to £2.1m (H1 2005: £1.4m).

The company reported a “significant contribution” from the Cambridge MA office it opened in May 2003 and mooted further overseas expansion through a move into the world’s third largest market for research antibodies, Japan, later this year.

Abcam also said it remained confident of its ability to hit previous forecasts of £18.5m in sales for the current year.

The company currently sources 96 per cent of the antibodies in its online catalogue from third-party suppliers, but the high gross margin contribution means the company is seeking to expand its proprietary product line through in-house development and also acquisition.

Jonathan Milner, Abcam’s CEO said: “Abcam has performed well since joining AIM in November 2005 and I am pleased to announce a maiden interim dividend, a reflection of the company’s robust financial profile and commitment to shareholders.

“We look forward to continuing the momentum in the company’s growth in the current half and beyond through initiatives including the acquisition of product lines, the development of in-house products and the opening of a Japan office.”

Abcam’s product line was expanded by 49 per cent to 18,900 over the course of 2005 and its in-house R&D team increased from seven to 13 over the past six months alone.

Chairman David Cleevely continued: “We are also looking at low-cost and low-risk ways to increase sales in other parts of the world through distributors and our own offices.”

Cash generated during the period from operating activities was £1.4m and cash balances stood at £10.8m.

At the time of floating, Abcam said it intended to pay dividends each year of 25 per cent of the post tax profit, subject to the need to retain sufficient earnings for the future growth of the Group. Given its encouraging first half results, it decided to pay an interim dividend of 0.7 pence per share.

Antibodies, which have a wide variety of uses in research, diagnostics and therapeutics, are used by bioscientists in research into disease and into the human genome, where they are used to mark and identify specific cells and other living matter. The number of human antibodies of use in research is potentially greater than one million.



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