CIGA Healthcare prospers through focus on Middle East markets

Ballymena-based CIGA Healthcare, a specialist in self diagnostic tests, has used Invest Northern Ireland trade missions to drive exports to developing global markets including the Middle East and Arabian Gulf.

Exports to these markets are on target to provide up to 10 per cent of CIGA’s business over the next 12 months.

The company, which employs around 15 people in Ballymena, has taken part in a series of Invest NI missions and now sells its SureSign branded diagnostic tests in 40 countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria. It has also taken part with Invest NI in the Gulf Health exhibition in Dubai.

CIGA recently secured its first business in Libya following a partnership agreement with Jafara, a pharmaceuticals business in Tripoli that will see its full range of home tests for conditions such as high cholesterol and diabetes and its blood pressure monitors on sale in pharmacies throughout the country.

The company also expects to form strategic partnerships during the forthcoming missions to Kurdistan and the South East Asian markets of Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Neill Armstrong, CIGA Sales Director, said: “Our products were initially designed and developed to meet the trend in the UK and other parts of Europe towards personalised healthcare particularly in terms of pregnancy testing and the self monitoring of glucose and high blood pressure conditions.

“Over the past few years, we’ve seen this trend developing in other global markets beyond Europe and including more buoyant and increasingly affluent regions such as the Middle East and Arabian Gulf. For instance, diabetes has reached epidemic proportions and this has led to a huge increase in demand for self diagnostic tests.

“Our strategic focus is on expanding business to as many markets as our resources will allow. There isn’t a market that we wouldn’t consider assessing the opportunities for our products, and to see if we could establish a viable partnership with an appropriate business there. The assistance and practical support we receive through our participation in Invest NI missions is immensely beneficial, and it enables us to grow sales abroad faster than would otherwise have been possible.

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, commenting on CIGA’s success, said: “This is a small company with an impressive commitment to business growth through exports. CIGA has taken part in a number of our missions and has shown great professionalism and expertise in terms of its sales and marketing activities.

“The company follows up business leads generated from missions assiduously, as quickly as possible and with great determination. This is a key element in successful exporting and one which many companies do not grasp. As a result of this professional approach, the company is experiencing a significant growth in exports and in its overall business.”