Fortress Diagnostics grows export sales

Fortress Diagnostics, the Antrim-based manufacturer of chemical reagents, analysers and other high-tech products for hospitals, clinics and pharmacies worldwide, has recently opened offices in India, Slovakia and Bulgaria as part of a concerted drive to expand its sales outside Northern Ireland.

The company has also secured new business worth around £250,000 during its participation in the recent Medica healthcare exhibition in Dusseldorf, Germany.

The company, which has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to develop its export strategy, has seen a significant growth in business from target markets in Europe, the Middle East, including Egypt, Libya, Lebanon and Iran, and Africa. It currently exports its range of more than 100 diagnostic reagents, immunoassay and analytical products to customers in more than 60 countries and has experienced annual growth of more than 30 per cent over the past two years.

Fortress currently exports 95 per cent of the products it manufactures in Antrim to customers outside Northern Ireland. As part of its longstanding commitment to innovation, the company recently launched a range of blood coagulation measurement products.

Dr Morteza Afrasiabi, who formed the company in 2003 with wife Dr Rosita, says: “We’ve set up the new offices in India and Eastern Europe to enable us to respond quickly to the business opportunities that we’ve identified in these three markets. The approaches that we’ve had for our products from Eastern Europe are immensely encouraging.

“They’ve given us the confidence to set up the new base in Bratislava, which we see as strategic location that will enable our representatives there to develop business in the neighbouring markets of the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovenia and Austria.  We are now doing some business in these markets and anticipate significant growth over the next few years.

“In addition, the current scale of inquiries for our immunoassay products will probably require the development of a dedicated manufacturing operation here in Antrim.

“Our business is growing rapidly because of our focus on innovative products that meet the specific needs of customers and also from our extensive marketing campaign which has meant that there’s now a greater awareness of our commitment to superb quality in both products and customer services. Our size and dedication to R&D means that we are able to respond rapidly to the requirements of individual customers,” he adds.

Welcoming the company’s successes, Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, says: “Fortress Diagnostics is an ambitious company in a strategically important sector for the Northern Ireland economy. We’ve helped the company to develop business contacts through participation in exhibitions such as Medica and also to strengthen its overall capability in export markets. The latest business and the decision to set up in markets such as India and Eastern Europe show that Fortress Diagnostics is benefiting from these capability development programmes,” he adds.