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14 September, 2020 - 09:17 By Tony Quested

Abcam prepares for a golden future despite short-term hit

Cambridge’s Abcam plc, which supplies research tools to the global life science market, has delivered total revenues equal to the prior year with in-house product revenue growth of more than six per cent despite 
COVID-19.

And the Biomedical Campus doyen has proceeded with investment in all areas of the company’s five-year growth plan as it takes a long-term view of the business and its potential.

The share price took a significant hit when the UK market opened this morning before starting to recover on closer examination of the long-term expansion blueprint.

The company has endeavoured to project its considerable future capabilities  rather than dwell on an inevitable hit to profit and bottom line.

Revenue was reported at £260 million compared to 259.9m last time but profit before tax slumped from £56.4m to just £8.4m. The company’s net cash position has not altered significantly at £80.9m despite the heavy investment in acquisitions and new talent.

CEO Alan Hirzel says that the improving trends in customer activity levels seen during the final quarter of the last fiscal year have continued into the new trading period as more laboratories continue to partially or fully reopen.

He said that despite the heightened uncertainty that COVID-19 continues to bring to the near-term outlook of the technology business, the fundamentals remained strong and the medium and long-term growth prospects looked attractive. 

“Accordingly, our investment plans remain unchanged as we continue to focus on achieving our 2023/24 financial goals, comprising revenue of £450-500 million; an adjusted operating margin of over 30 per cent and a return on capital employed of over 18 per cent.

Hirzel said: “I am proud of our teams and what we have achieved during this unprecedented time. We have retained our focus on our life sciences customers in the most demanding circumstances, enabling them to perform their vital work faster. 

“As I look to the future, I remain confident in our evolved strategy and the strong fundamentals that support the potential of our business. We are building Abcam to increase its positive impact on science and society and to generate long-term value for all our stakeholders. 

“We have continued to invest heavily in future growth as we execute our strategy to again double the size of the business.”

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