Inflation and EKF AGM

Inflation is certainly a big problem with the news that it is now at 9% and heading higher in the UK. Most advanced countries have been hit in the same way due to higher energy and food costs but the UK is certainly leading the bunch due to past mistakes over energy policy.

What annoys me is not so much the price inflation as when companies shrink their packaging as happened recently to Kellogs Cornflakes and Nescafe’s Azera Coffee tins, while no doubt maintaining the same price.

I thought the price of microwave ovens had suffered from gross inflation when my wife bought a replacement for £529. That’s after I managed to fry the old one by leaving a potato in it. But looking at the market you can buy a perfectly good one for £60. I don’t think my wife is very price sensitive! She clearly thinks we are rich when with the stock market declining we are getting poorer.

With the sun out, the sky is blue and there is no cloud in the sky it’s difficult to focus on financial matters. But I did watch the EKF Diagnostics (EKF) Annual General Meeting this morning. This was run as a hybrid event run via Zoom with about 9 people on-line and at least one ordinary shareholder physically present. The acoustics were not good though so difficult to hear the questions posed by the one present and at some point multiple people speaking at once was confusing.

There were a number of questions posed on-line or received in advance. I’ll only mention some particularly interesting comments. The company has plans to launch a sepsis test for use in critical care environments in 2023 with clinical trials at the end of this year. That would be of great use as I almost died from sepsis in hospital after a minor surgical procedure a few years back. It can be difficult to diagnose at present.

There were some interesting comments on the difficulty of getting approval for medical devices in China. Regulations are used to block foreign products it appears. The company needs to change its strategy for that market.

The point of care market is growing at 6% per year but there is higher growth in the enzyme market hence the focus on that.

The meeting lasted about 50 minutes and was of some use.

Roger Lawson (Twitter: https://twitter.com/RogerWLawson  )

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2 thoughts on “Inflation and EKF AGM”

  1. Dear Roger, I was interested in today’s comments both on inflation and diagnostics.

    On the former everything that is happening shows the folly (as I said at the time) of bailing out the banks and printing money under the friendly sounding name of QE. This drug was of course embraced by politicians always eager to bribe us with our own money whilst trying to avoid us noticing by pushing the cost into the future. There is NO solution to this bout of inflation except “tighten your belts” and learn or re-learn the two most basic lessons about resilience:- save for a rainy day and reduce dependency on borrowing.

    More interestingly on diagnostics we have recently embraced a regime of integrative medicine which is all about your gut health and measuring the constituents of your body and using vitamins and supplements to make up deficiencies. This also covers analysis for allergies. I think there is enormous upside for diagnostic companies as traditional medicine is seen to be (what it sadly is) “throwing pills at symptoms egged on by the manufacturers” . I have been looking at TekCapital which has some interesting investments in diagnostics and food and I wonder if you have come across any minnows that might be worth looking at?

    Best wishes

    David Potter
    Former Chairman and CEO of Guinness Mahon

    1. In reply to your question, I tend to avoid the minnows so I find it difficult to suggest any. But EKF have a couple of spin-offs that might have potential – Verici DX and Trellus Health.

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