French company AES Laboratoire, which specialises in tests and equipment for research into food contaminants, this week registered a healthy increase in its turnover, thanks mainly to increasing concerns over safety issues within the food industry.
The company announced turnover of €37.6 million for the first half of the financial year - in effect a 17.1 per cent increase from the same period last year.
Less encouraging were the results for the most recent quarter. AES reported that after strong growth in the first quarter - 32.5 per cent - business slowed down with the second quarter showing only a modest progression of 2.4 per cent.
According to French website Boursier.com, the directors of AES Laboratoire explained that the summer of 2002 was particularly marked by an increase in beef consumption - which in turn provoked a considerable increase in demand for the safety tests.
On top of that, rising concerns over disease and food poisoning have led to a huge increase in demand for safety measures in Europe. Foot and mouth disease, BSE and increasing rates of E. coli contamination have all been driving factors in the interest of safety testing equipment.
AES Laboratoire Groupe employs over 280 people and has €30 million in shareholders' equity. Shares of its AES Laboratoire subsidiary entered the French Stock Exchange in 1998. In the fiscal year ending 31 March 2002 the group made over €70 million in sales.