MAJOR EMPLOYER: Lifescan Scotland reported increased profits despite a relatively flat turnover.
The business, part of global conglomerate Johnson and Johnson, makes diabetes monitoring devices and is one of the biggest private employers in the Highlands, with more than 1100 staff in Inverness.
According to accounts filed at Companies House turnover showed a modest increase of 1% from £168.1m to £169.7m in the 12 months to January 1, 2012.
However, it reported an increase in other operational income, which is not included in the turnover figure and relates to fees from other group companies and grant awards, from £8.8m to £17.6m
A spokeswoman for Lifescan Scotland, the largest life sciences company in this country, said the profits rise was mainly due to an internal financing realignment.
Directors said the markets the business operates in will remain competitive for the rest of the year. In notes to the accounts they added: "The development of new and existing products and processes continue to be important to the success of the company in all areas of the business.
"The directors remain confident that the company will continue to perform well in the future."
Research and development spending was trimmed from £18.5m to almost £11m, but capital expenditure commitments increased £19.5m to £22.7m.
Directors' emoluments declined from £885,954 to £805,849, with the highest paid person seeing his or her rewards static at £282,394. Staff costs grew slightly from £42.3m to £43.1m in spite of a drop in average employee numbers from 1138 to 1107.
Charitable contributions to the local community increased from £139,423 to £152,203.
In June this year, Lifescan Scotland secured a deal to become the base for all research and development of blood glucose monitoring work from its parent company.
The £9.5m investment included up to £2.8m of funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and was expected to preserve the employment at the site and lead to the creation of 19 new jobs.
First Minister Alex Salmond announced the deal during a visit to the Lifescan Inc headquarters in California in the US.
The roots of the company go back to when Inverness Medical was established at Raigmore Hospital in 1995 to design and manufacture products for the global diabetes market.
It was originally predicted to have the potential to employ 200 people but the business, which was renamed Lifescan Scotland when its UK assets were bought by Johnson and Johnson in 2001, has now far outstripped that.
The company makes glucose strips and electronic devices for monitoring diabetes and has also developed diabetes management software and lancing devices for extracting blood samples.
Since 1996, the number of people in the UK diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled to around three million and the figure is estimated to rise to five million by 2025.
Globally, the incidence was reported at 366 million people in 2011 with an expectation of 552m by 2030. China, India, the US, Russia and Brazil are the countries with the largest numbers of people with the condition.
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