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US banker paid £73m dividend in 2021 after firm won millions in UK Covid contracts

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An American banker was paid a £73m dividend in 2021 after his firm won hundreds of millions in Covid contracts, figures show.Banks Bourne, the sole owner of the medical company Tanner Pharma, took the sum from Tanner’s UK division, Companies House records show.While Tanner Pharma, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, registered profits of £1.4m in 2019, this figure hit £38.8m in 2020 and £64m in 2021.

According to the company’s latest accounts, released in March, this financial growth was largely driven by a Covid windfall, with the firm paid huge sums by the UK government.Turnover increased from £192m in 2020 to £468.5m in 2021, or by 144%, the latest accounts state.

They say “this increase was largely the result of higher-volume contracts” with the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) as the company “supported the UK government’s urgent response to Sars-CoV-2 pandemic”.Tanner Pharma’s profit margin therefore was 19.8% in 2020 and 13.7% in 2021.Government records show that in 2020 and 2021 Tanner Pharma was awarded contracts worth £865m from the UKHSA and the DHSC for the provision of lateral flow tests.

The largest contract during this period was valued at up to £243m – more than 84 times the firm’s total turnover of £2.9m in 2019.The company’s accounts show that it earned 98.3% of its turnover in 2021 and 93.7% in 2020 from the UK government.Tanner Pharma continued to be awarded UK Covid contracts in 2022, with its largest single contract coming in February 2022, worth up to £595m for the provision of lateral flow tests to the UKHSA.

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