A BIG INVESTMENT

Bio­science com­pany Sek­isui Di­ag­nos­tics un­veils $6-mil­lion ex­pan­sion, plans for fur­ther growth

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY RYAN ROSS Ryan.ross@the­guardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/ryan­r­ross

Bio­science com­pany Sek­isui Di­ag­nos­tics un­veils $6-mil­lion ex­pan­sion, plans for fur­ther growth

Sek­isui Di­ag­nos­tics is grow­ing.

The bio­science firm with lo­ca­tions around the world re­cently com­pleted a $6-mil­lion ex­pan­sion at its Char­lot­te­town man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity.

Brian Ste­wart, Sek­isui Di­ag­nos­tics’ di­rec­tor of man­u­fac­tur­ing, said the ex­pan­sion gives the com­pany’s Is­land em­ploy­ees a world-class fa­cil­ity to make high-qual­ity prod­ucts.

“Peo­ple wouldn’t rec­og­nize the build­ing if they had been in here a year ago,” he said.

Sek­isui Di­ag­nos­tics pro­duces med­i­cal di­ag­nos­tics kits in Char­lot­te­town that are used around the world.

The com­pany bought Di­ag­nos­tic Chem­i­cals in 2011, in­creas­ing its work­force by more than 30 peo­ple since then and lead­ing to the need for the re­cent ex­pan­sion.

On Tues­day, Sek­isui Di­ag­nos­tics held a tour of its ex­panded fa­cil­ity that in­cludes two new au­to­mated pack­ag­ing lines, a cold stor­age build­ing and other ren­o­va­tions.

The ex­pan­sion costs in­cluded $3.5 mil­lion the pro­vin­cial govern­ment spent on ren­o­va­tions to the build­ing.

It ex­pects to re­coup that money through a lease agree­ment with Sek­isui Di­ag­nos­tics.

The com­pany paid for the rest of the cap­i­tal costs in­volved in the ex­pan­sion.

Ste­wart said the ex­pan­sion and ren­o­va­tions al­low the com­pany to grow by adding more floor and man­u­fac­tur­ing space so it can take on more cus­tomers.

“It is a big investment,” he said.

A new clean room will also al­low Sek­isui Di­ag­nos­tics to make prod­ucts in P.E.I. in­stead of im­port­ing them from Ja­pan, which will save money and re­duce the com­pany’s en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print, Ste­wart said.

“It puts it in our hands to reach mar­kets from this area.”

In to­tal, Sek­isui Di­ag­nos­tics em­ploys 120 peo­ple full time in Char­lot­te­town.

That num­ber could grow as the com­pany plans for a fur­ther ex­pan­sion an­nounced Tues­day along with the rib­bon-cut­ting on the re­cent ex­pan­sion.

Ste­wart said there are a few pro­jec­tions on what the fur­ther ex­pan­sion will mean for jobs at Sek­isui Di­ag­nos­tic, but noth­ing con­crete.

“At this time it’s still too early to tell,” he said.

Work on the new ex­pan­sion will start this sum­mer and Ste­wart said the hope is to have it fin­ished by Fe­bru­ary.

RYAN ROSS/THE GUARDIAN

Brian Ste­wart, Sek­isui Di­ag­nos­tics’ di­rec­tor of man­u­fac­tur­ing, shows off an au­to­matic fill­ing and la­belling ma­chine dur­ing a tour of the com­pany’s ex­panded fa­cil­ity on Tues­day.

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