CIGA Healthcare gears up for further growth in 2022

Ballymena-based diagnostics company CIGA Healthcare has closed the calendar year with multiple new export supply contracts.

The company which markets, manufactures and packages a range of over-the-counter (OTC) diagnostic devices under its SURESIGN brand including pregnancy tests, blood pressure and diabetes monitors has confirmed new exports starting in 2022 worth in excess of £4 million to distributors in Uruguay, Turkey, Canada, Egypt and other Middle East and African countries as well as increased sales to EU and GB wholesalers and retailers. This growth in sales marks a 200% increase in OTC exports over the same period in 2020.

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CIGA Healthcare founder and chief executive Irwin Armstrong says the company’s performance in 2021 has been phenomenal. “We started the calendar year with some trepidation as we could see difficulties arising in supplies of certain components from China and elsewhere,” says Mr Armstrong. “Transportation networks began clogging up and delivery delays brought about by some confusion surrounding the NI Protocol, shortages of containers and a recruitment crisis in the haulage sector meant we were profoundly concerned .But the second half of the year saw enough resolutions to these challenges and CIGA Healthcare was able to successfully implement its international marketing strategies and significantly grow the business,” says Mr Armstrong.

The firm which employs 32 has recruited five new senior staff members in recent months across its international and domestic sales and marketing activities as well as its regulatory, distribution and logistics operations. Mr Armstrong said: “The quality and diligence of our staff across all sectors of the business has made much of this progress possible and I am very proud of what our small company has achieved in the face of economic instability and uncertainty.” He says he attributes the continuing growth of exports not only by CIGA but by the broader Northern Ireland manufacturing sector to the NI Protocol. He said: “We are particularly grateful to Invest NI for the assistance it has provide in helping us establish new markets. Now is the time for Northern Ireland’s firms to consolidate their positions and fully exploit the advantages of being in both UK and EU single markets because we will soon see an influx of foreign direct investment and the creation of potentially thousands of jobs which will paradoxically make life harder for us as recruiters!”

CIGA Healthcare chief Irwin Armstrong and Ellen Erskine, Head of International Markets