Medical testing company boss quits as profits slump

Ian Cookson

Ian Cookson

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THE boss of a medical test kit company has quit after its profits were slashed in half.

Ian Cookson has stepped down as chief executive officer of Immunodiagnostic Systems Holdings (IDS), based at Boldon Business Park, following a steep fall in profits and share value.

Employing about 100 staff at its South Tyneside base, IDS has seen its profits before tax fall by 56 per cent, to £7.3million for the full year, while adjusted profit before tax fell about 10 per cent, to £14.9million.

Mr Cookson’s resignation follows stiff competition for its core vitamin D testing kits.

In January, the Echo reported that IDS was asking for voluntary redundancies – and did not rule out compulsory redundancies – as it cut costs following increased international competition.

The life sciences company said it was planning to make savings of £2million a year, after issuing its second profit warning in a matter of months.

A spokesman said this week there were “no plans” for IDS to move from its Boldon base, but there was no comment on possible job losses within the company, which employs more than 300 staff around the world.

Only last September IDS added 20,000 sq ft to its production and office space at Boldon and also recently diversified into a new test area for high blood pressure.

IDS said it hopes to announce a replacement for Mr Cookson “in the near future”.

Dr Anthony Martin, non-executive chairman of IDS, said: “The board is working hard to continue to build the company and increase shareholder value in what is a challenging business environment.

“Despite the more-competitive market, we have increased revenues from our vitamin D product range while at the same time diversifying our overall product range to broaden the appeal of our IDS-iSYS system.

“We continue to monitor costs to ensure resources are targeted at the key drivers for the business.

“The board continues to believe that revenues in the current year will show similar year on year growth to those achieved in the year ended March 31, 2012.”

IDS, which produces medical test kits for analysing blood, serum, plasma and urine, and is a world leader in kits for bone disease, has enjoyed rapid growth in recent years, partly through company aquisitions.

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