The company which commercialises the scientific work of the James Hutton Institute (JHI) saw UK innovation grant income fall by almost half in the year to March 31 2017.
The annual report for James Hutton Ltd (JHL) shows income from Innovate UK, the UK Government’s research funders, fell 48% to £696,000 from £1,339,000 the year before. The poorer success in winning grants contributed to a fall in business turnover to £3.835 million from £4.134m.
But the Invergowrie-based firm’s operating profit was up £207,000 on the year, to £603,000.
JHL comprises three strategic business units which are responsible for turning the intellectual property and expertise of JHI scientists into commercial services, licences and products in the agricultural, environmental and oil and gas sectors.
The annual report reveals income from contract research and consultancy services was down by 48% due to a lower success rate, with Innovate UK proposals and a delayed start to two approved projects.
The report states the year’s results reflect a “very competitive” environment for contract tenders.
Meanwhile plant breeding services and the licencing of plant variety rights brought in £1.235m compared to £1.498m.
The 17.5% drop in income was attributed to the termination of a long-term breeding contract and the loss of significant revenues from Glen Lyon raspberry plant variety rights, which have expired.
However new blueberry and blackberry breeding programmes were launched during the year and JHL is optimistic that additional parties will join them as they ramp up.
Income from JHL’s analytical services business increased to £1.837m from £1.124m, largely due to the recovery in the oil and gas market and growth in the lipids division.
JHL said it anticipates growth in soil and water analysis, food authenticity and decom in future.