OMEGA Diagnostics, the Clackmannanshire company that produces tests for allergies, food intolerance and infection diseases, said it was making progress on its long-awaited HIV test and that strong growth in its food intolerance business could fuel growth in China, India and North America.

“We’re getting close to a final product but we’ve still got some work to do,” said chief executive Andrew Shepherd of the portable HIV test, which is being modified to withstand very hot temperatures in sub-Saharan countries. “We’re up to 32 degrees, so it’s now just getting that test to work up to 35 degrees. It still has a great demand, because there is no CD4 test that can go down to village levels or clinics in Africa.”

CD4 cells are a type of white blood cell that fight infection and indicate the health of a person’s immune system.

In a trading update, Omega said its food Intolerance business – which sells a kit used by nutritionists and dieticians to test for 59 food intolerances and a lab test against 220 foods – had achieved its targeted double-digit revenue growth in the period, up 19 per cent to £7.1 million. However, its allergy business in Germany continued to decline as it saw a reduction in buying levels, hit by increased competition.

Results for the year to 31 March 2016 are expected to be in line with expectations, with revenues 6 per cent ahead of last year at £12.7m and adjusted pre-tax profits in the range of £1.2m to £1.3m. The company said it had identified a ‘clear organic growth strategy’ for the next three to five years.

“We’re pushing at a market that’s still developing,” said Mr Shepherd, who founded the business in 1987. “We’re not doing a lot in China at the moment but that’s a market that’s growing very quickly. We recently got our products into India through our Indian subsidiary and that’s another market with the potential for high growth. Another potential market is North America, were we’re doing very little at the moment. So there are a lot of good product markets out there and we’re very confident that growth will continue.”

House broker finnCap said the route to achieving further field trials for the HIV product was understood and closer. Omega is valued at £16m on London's Alternative Investment Market.