Shares in Scottish diagnostics group Axis Shield were given a boost after the group posted a solid set of interim results for the period ending June 30 driven by strong sales of its key products.

The firm’s stock closed up 8.5% on the London Stock Exchange yesterday as investors welcomed news of a generally positive performance during a difficult economic climate.

Axis-Shield managed to beat the current widespread gloom by posting sales of £50.6 million, leaping 18.5% from that recorded for the year-earlier six-month period with a helping hand from currency exchange effects and stellar performances by both its Point-of-Care and Laboratory divisions, sales from which grew 27.3% to £22.1 million and 23% to 12.8 million, respectively.

The strong growth in sales helped drive a huge jump in underlying profit before tax, which more than doubled to £3.6 million, generating earnings per share of 6.74p compared to 2.86p booked for the first half of last year.

Commenting on the results, the company’s chairman Nigel Keen said: “Our business remains strong, with particularly good growth from our Afinion system, and we see no obvious impact on diagnostic test utilisation from the global recession. I look forward to reporting another set of strong results at the year end.”

In addition, the group announced plans to market a new Afinion test for high sensitivity C-Reactive Protein, an important marker for cardiovascular disease, and that it has acquired rights to a new proprietary test for sepsis diagnosis, which, it claims, represents a growing area of clinical need, helping to position the firm for future growth.