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Biotech firm Randox ends its investment in Donegal Covid test lab

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Randox founder Dr Peter Fitzgerald

Randox founder Dr Peter Fitzgerald

Randox founder Dr Peter Fitzgerald

Randox, a Northern Irish-headquartered healthcare testing company that played a significant role in diagnosing Covid-19 during the pandemic, has written-off its investment in a Donegal laboratory built to test for the virus.

According to Randox’s results for the year ended June 2021, the group had developed a Covid testing laboratory on the site of its Donegal-based subsidiary, Randox Teoranta. However, the laboratory it built has not been used for testing in the year and has no current or planned use.

Following an impairment review of the Covid testing laboratory, which examined its ability to generate future economic benefits, the facility was fully impaired by over £2.35m. The accounts said it had no “current value”, with no plans to sell it on the market. It added that, given its location, there would be “minimal deemed resale value”.

A spokeswoman for Randox, which has a Covid testing facility at Dublin Airport, said the laboratory had been built and prepared for Covid testing but that the capacity was “no longer required”.

She said Randox Teoranta remained a “major and important part of the Randox group” with plans to increase staffing levels further. She said it is continuing to recruit, with nine posts currently advertised.

The spokeswoman added staff affected by the decision to write off its investment in the Covid testing lab were offered redeployment elsewhere within Randox Teoranta in similar roles, with the number of staff not affected.

In December 2020, Randox announced plans to open a new Covid-19 testing laboratory in Donegal for early 2021. It hoped to create up to 50 jobs, with Randox Teoranta employing 110 people at the time.

According to its accounts, Randox made pre-tax profits of £275m (€319m)  last year after winning UK government contracts for Covid-19 testing with a maximum value of £777m. 

The firm, founded in 1982 by Dr Peter Fitzgerald, had recovered from a £12.5m loss recorded in its previous 18-month results.

Staff numbers at Randox had also grown, from nearly 1,400 to 2,112.

The Randox accounts show that it recorded turnover of £619m for the year. This was significantly higher than the £218m Randox achieved in the previous 18 month accounting period.

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