International business is being targeted by James Hutton Limited (JHL) as operating conditions remain testing for the Invergowrie-based firm which translates scientific research into commercial opportunities.
While the annual accounts show the company’s turnover for 2018-19 was £4.12 million, up on £3.83m in 2017-18, and with an operating profit of £859,000 (£603,000), director Professor Colin Campbell states in his annual report that markets for the work to commercialise science “are and will continue to be challenging”.
Prof Campbell, chief executive of the James Hutton Institute, whose work is turned into commercial services, licences and products in the agricultural, environmental and oil and gas sector by JHL, said the firm had made significant investments in business development, marketing and new business discovery.
“In addition new professional services frameworks and tools continue to be developed to improve efficiencies and maximise profits and further improve delivery to customers,” he said.
Plant breeding services and the licensing of plant variety rights (PVR) brought in £1.196m, which was 3.2% less than the previous year, as a result of the full-year loss of revenues from the Glen Lyon raspberry plant variety rights that expired part way through last year.
However Prof Campbell said new blueberry and blackberry breeding programmes were launched during the year, “with the likelihood of additional parties joining the programmes as they ramp up”.
“Internationalisation will continue to be a key focus, including expanding our plant variety registrations into new territories and supporting potato breeding technologies both in the UK and abroad.”
Work in the oil and gas sector accounted for £1.662m of income, while contract research and consultancy brought in £781,000.