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15 August, 2018 - 12:20 By Tony Quested

Horizon Discovery investing in the future

Cambridge’s gene editing world leader Horizon Discovery is continuing with its strategy of investing in the future to build long-term profits, regardless of  stockmarket vagaries or shareholder frustration.

The company made it clear in a pre-close trading update that it was very much focused on the future.

Horizon will unveil its interim results to June 30 on September 17 and will more than double its first half revenues.

It expects to report H1 2018 revenues of around £25.1 million compared to £12.1m in the first half of 2017. This is in line with board expectations and represents growth of 107 per cent against the equivalent prior period – 126 per cent on a constant currency basis. 

Revenues on a like-for-like basis (pre-acquisition of Dharmacon) are expected to be around £11.1m (H1 2017: £12.1m) but Horizon expects revenues to be second half weighted, consistent with previous years, and exceed consensus for the full year.

Reported H1 gross margins are expected to exceed 60 per cent (H1 2017: 64 per cent), representing three consecutive interim periods of gross margins in excess of 60 per cent.  Horizon had cash resources of £24.9m at June 30 – up from £4.8m in June 2017.

As part of its expansion roadmap, Horizon says it identifies and pursues new high growth market areas to meet the requirements of its rapidly growing customer base and to deliver substantial value for customers through novel product and service offerings that generate repeatable revenue.

To maximise medium and longer-term shareholder value creation, the board considers the group’s position will be enhanced by gaining a commanding share of its most rapidly-growing markets. 

To achieve this, the board has committed to make increased investments that capture the available opportunity, provide further automation and scale and deliver enhanced customer solutions.

As a result of these investments, Horizon expects to report positive EBITDA for FY 2018 before exceptional items below the current range of analysts’ expectations. 

CEO Terry Pizzie said: “The first half of 2018 has been an important period for Horizon, not only with the change in leadership but also with our continued transformation into a global, commercial and scalable business.

“Horizon is a world-class tools and services business focused on delivering commercial, scientific and operational excellence for customers in the dynamic and rapidly growing field of gene editing and gene modulation.

“This is an exciting time for the business. As gene editing continues to industrialise, we are well positioned to benefit from further investment in our high value and rapidly growing segments of the market.”

• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Terry Pizzie, CEO of Horizon Discovery

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