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Exports and sales up at Sci-Tech Daresbury

DATE 16th September 2016

A survey of 82 companies based at the Cheshire site has revealed they delivered £92.4m in sales during 2015 – a rise of 25% on the previous year.

A total of 21 companies on campus now have sales of over £1m per year from operations based out of Sci-Tech Daresbury, with six of these having sales greater than £5m per year.

Seven out of 10 businesses (70%) surveyed were trading overseas and export sales from Sci-Tech Daresbury companies grew from 37% to 41% of total sales, equivalent to £37.9m of sales.

Companies also created a net increase of 87 FTE jobs in 2015. Eight companies are now employing higher level apprentices.

Sci-Tech Daresbury is a private-public joint-venture partnership between developer Langtree, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and Halton Borough Council. The site, which has Enterprise Zone status, is home to businesses and globally significant science facilities.

John Downes, Chief Executive of Langtree and Chairman of the Sci-Tech Daresbury joint venture company, said the figures were an encouraging indicator of the continued success of the site.

Mr Downes added:

“These figures come at an important time for the campus as we bring forward our new Techspace developments which will see a further 350 jobs created over the coming year.

“They also highlight the important role Sci-Tech Daresbury plays in creating the right conditions for science and innovation-based SMEs to achieve their growth ambitions.”

Practical completion of Techspace Two, a two-storey, self-contained building comprising 10,000 sq ft of modern, flexible office space and best-in-class laboratories, is due to take place soon.

Work is also progressing on a larger sister building, Techspace One, which is a three-storey structure with 46,000 sq ft of modern office space along with wet and dry laboratory facilities, each on its own floor. Techspace One is due to finish in the Autumn 2016.

The completion of both buildings will see a further 350 jobs created at the campus, which is one of the UK’s leading centres for science and technology businesses.

Together the two buildings are part of a £20m investment into the Enterprise Zone, including development of new public realm and campus infrastructure. The project was supported by the ERDF programme 2007-2013.

Mr Downes said the latest survey figures provided further encouragement for the year ahead, with some 72% of companies forecasting therecruitment of a further potential 186 people during the course of this year.

He added: “We have now seen an average annual 30% sales growth over the past five years, which is a significant achievement.”

Case study – Optis

Since moving to Sci-Tech Daresbury in 2011, Optis Northern Europe has increased staff numbers, overseen new business acquisitions and increased its multi-million-pound turnover. Its Sci-Tech Daresbury base is one of eleven different locations across three continents and the hub of operations in the United Kingdom.

Optis is a world-leading software editor in optical and lighting simulation in a Virtual Reality (VR) environment. It allows designers, ergonomists and engineers to test, evaluate and optimise lighting performance.

The Sci-Tech Daresbury location provides Optis with facilities that are critical for growing its business, including access to the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Hartree Centre, which offers collaborative research, innovation and development services that accelerate the application of high performance computing (HPC), big data analytics and cognitive computing technologies.

Optis has also benefitted from the partnership opportunities available at Sci-Tech Daresbury and the collaborations with other organisations, sharing knowledge and expertise.

 The campus location also provides Optis with full flexibility on facilities and leases giving them the opportunity to scale their model quickly.

Andy Reilly, countries manager at Optis Northern Europe, said: “With state of the art technology at our fingertips, we have been able grow year on year since moving to Sci-The Daresbury. The facilities for businesses to use at the Hartree Centre and VEC are unrivalled.

“Our growth has led to our business expanding at a rapid rate. In 2014, we acquired Icona Solutions, a software developer for improving the perceived quality of vehicles. It shows our commitment to growing this Sci-Tech Daresbury site and making it a focal point for our European strategy.”