A SCOTTISH software firm is set to maintain its rapid growth next year in a range of deals with customers, including the Saudi Arabian military, under discussion.

Gael expects to grow its sales by around 20% next year based on the company's success in markets such as aviation and healthcare.

Based in East Kilbride, Gael develops software which can be used in areas like risk management and for monitoring compliance with regulations.

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Chief executive Ashley Marron said the company expects growth to be powered by continued success in overseas markets like the Middle East.

The company has been enjoying a boom in demand in the Middle East since opening an office in Dubai in March.

"We have some significant deals under discussion," said Mr Marron. "We are working with significant firms in food packaging, we are working in government services, with regulators."

The company also supplies systems to hospitals in Kuwait and Oman.

Mr Marron said he will fly out to Saudi Arabia this week for discussions with the Saudi military about a potential contract, without giving details.

Gael is on course to increase sales by around 20% annually to a record £8 million in the year to December 31 after enjoying a string of contract wins. The company has carved out a lucrative niche for its systems, which have capitalised on increased investment in areas such as risk management and regulatory compliance around the world.

Gael has enjoyed a significant boost to revenues this year from a contract it won to supply an integrated risk management and heath and safety system to Avincis, the helicopter company.

Mr Marron said Gael's solutions will be supplied to operations in seven countries ranging from France to Chile.

"It can allow them to learn from an incident in one geography and pass that to others," said Mr Marron.

Gael recently established a sales presence in China. The company has also been winning work in the UK.

It has gained contracts from a number of health trusts in England and Wales and is working with the Welsh Government on a system that could be rolled out across pharmacies in the country. The Scottish life sciences sector is also an important market.

Gael currently employs around 100 people in East Kilbride and Mr Marron expects around 10 additional jobs to be created there next year in areas such as sales and marketing. The company is on course to make profits of around £1.5m before tax this year, paving the way for sustained investment in research and development.

"The founders of the company still own it and we have no debt. With no external shareholders there's nobody pressuring us to do anything stupid and we can reinvest," said Mr Marron.

Gael was founded by Donald Maciver and Derek Jack in the wake of the 1991 closure of the giant Unisys electronics plant in Livingston where they both worked.