Engineering and Manufacturing

A business story about dentist drills that will put a smile on your face

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 17 July 2020 9:04

A business story about dentist drills that will put a smile on your face

There is a major caveat with this story we will fill in later, but the short of it is that a Gloucestershire manufacturer of dental burs continues to write a world-wide success story. 

Sales of its drill bits are up £28,996,000 (19.2 per cent), gross profit up £8,042,000 (12 per cent) and profit before tax £2,224,000 (38.3 per cent) at Gloucester headquartered Prima Dental. 

Its world-wide footprint continues to grow with investment in research and development underpinning its strategy - and more jobs are being created annually.

Head count at the Quedgeley-headquartered firm is estimated at 285 staff – up 15 on last year.

“The group achieved another excellent year of growth with overall sales growing by 19.2 per cent to £29m with an increase in our key US market of 20.9 per cent as a result of gaining market share. 

“The first full year of trading for our subsidiary in the Far East contributed to an increase in our sales to the rest of the world of 26.6 per cent,” said Richard Muller, managing director of Prima Dental. 

“Profit before tax at £2.2m was up 38.2 per cent on last year and now represented 7.7. per cent of sales improving by 1.1 per cent on 2016. 

“During the year the company invested £5.1 million in new equipment to meet increasing demand from new business won during the year. 

“The investment meant that a new factory space of 20,600 square fee unit we acquired is now fully operation. 

"Headcount increased by 19 (seven per cent) and resulted in gained efficiencies in production as these new employees added to the improved operational structure.”


Pictured: Prima Dental directors (Richard Muller, back right) in 2018 shortly after the firm won its last Queen's Award for Enterprise

During the year the group also moved to consolidate its position in India and Brazil. And its partnership with a Chinese manufacturer led to us launching subsidiaries in Hong Kong and China in 2018. 

Following the first full-year trading we saw a 60 per cent growth in sales in these subsidiaries in 2019. 

Two elephants loom in the room, of course - Brexit and the mammoth that is the world-wide covid-19 pandemic. 

By way of summary “Brexit may continue to depress European markets as well as increase currency fluctuations”. 

As for covid-19: “Directors have put in place measures to mitigate and monitor the risks and uncertainly as they evolve.” 

These include everything from simple hand sanitisers to flexible working, but Prima concludes “it is difficult to evaluate all of the potential implications of the current covid-19 outbreak on the group's trade, employees, customers, suppliers and the wider economy”. 

And the caveat we mentioned earlier - the accounts are to the year ending December 2019 and while recently published the notes on Brexit and the pandemic was approved on May 28. And a lot has happened since then.