One of the most innovative firms in the country says it is in a strong position for growth after coming through the pandemic recession.

Kromek, based at NETPark in Sedgfield is a worldwide supplier of detection technology focusing on the medical, security screening and nuclear markets.

Just a few weeks ago it used its groundbreaking technology to set up a machine at Teesside International Airport which can detect Covid particles in the air ahead of a potential rollout to venues and hospitals.

The group has just set out its results for the year, which show how hard the post-Covid battle has been for them, but also clearly shows they used their time well and have retained loyal customers as well as being in a position to grow their market share even more.

Revenue was down from £13.1million to £10.4million and losses before tax were at £6.3m, a significant decrease from last year’s £18.3million. After tax and adjustment, that figure became £1.7m, more than four times where it was last year.

But CEO Dr Arnab Basu was in an understandably confident mood, telling The Northern Echo: “What we have is a fantastic foundation for growth, with very good visibility of our revenue and a year of 50% growth ahead.

“We raised £30million of cash from the market and are very well-positioned in our core markets of nuclear, medical and biotech. The world needs our products, which are all about saving lives and keeping people safe, whether that is early detection of cancer, protection against terrorism or knowing whether Covid is there or not.”

Dr Basu paid tribute to his remarkable staff at Sedgfield and said the company was working hard to make sure the right skills were in place for the next generation of scientists and technicians to join companies like Kromek and make a career in the North East.

He said: “I am so proud of this team, who worked through such difficult times under enormous pressure. They did a phenomenal job in getting us back to this point.

“Looking ahead, the skills situation is a continuing challenge for many businesses in the North East. Companies like us working with academia and Government supporting that infrastructure is key to upskilling people not only at the university level but at technical colleges and UTCs like Northern Futures where Kromek is an active participant.”

Looking back at the last year’s performance, Dr Basu said: "We started our fiscal year in May 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic, so the first four months looked rather dark for us. But around October we started seeing life come back and that momentum kept growing as long-term contracts were getting activated again.”

In the last 12 months the group has received $11.2million worth of contracts from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in America. Also, a £1.25m project from Innovate UK and now a £350,000 contract with the MoD.

Dr Basu added: “The UK Government has a commitment to spend £329million in radiation detection infrastructure, so for us the levelling up agenda and having a local supply chain means we are very well positioned, with world-class products.”