US banker to pay £73m dividend in 2021 after firm wins millions in UK Covid contracts


A US banker was paid a £73m dividend in 2021 after his firm made hundreds of millions in Covid contracts, figures show.

Bank Bourne, the sole owner of medical company Tanner Pharma, took the amount from Tanner’s UK division, Companies House records show.

While Tanner Pharma reported a profit of £1.4m in 2019, the figure is expected to reach £38.8m in 2020 and £64m in 2021. The firm was paid a hefty sum by the UK government.

Turnover to grow from £192m in 2020 to £468.5m in 2021, or up 144%, state the latest accounts. They state that “this increase was largely the result of higher-volume contracts with the UK”. Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) as the company “supported the UK Government’s immediate response to the Sars-CoV-2 pandemic”.

Tanner Pharma’s profit margin was therefore projected to be 19.8% in 2020 and 13.7% in 2021.

Government records show that in 2020 and 2021, Turner Pharma was awarded contracts worth £865 million from the UKHSA and DHSC for the provision of lateral flow tests. The largest contract during this period was worth 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 into 2022, with its largest single contract coming in February 2022, worth up to £595m for the provision of lateral flow testing to the UKHSA. In total, the firm was awarded UK Covid contracts worth just £1.5bn – 4th largest total of a firm.

The firm’s 23 employees were paid an average of £248,521 in 2021, up from £213,500 in 2020 and £84,110 in 2019. It doesn’t look like Bourne took a dividend from Tanner Pharma in 2020.

The government has faced repeated allegations of default in awarding Covid contracts, with Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee Saying That the government “unacceptably” lost and risked billions of taxpayers’ money in its Covid response.

Liberal Democrat health spokeswoman, Daisy Cooper, said: “These benefits raise more serious questions about the government’s inability to get good value for taxpayers’ money.

“It is now important that these contracts are scrutinized as part of the COVID investigation.”

Tanner Pharma served as a supplier of lateral flow testing on behalf of a major government supplier. Government revealed In June 2021, Tanner was distributing the lateral flow test on behalf of Orient Gene, based in Zhejiang, China.

None of these firms was part of the UK Rapid Test Consortium, an industry group formed to help increase government procurement of lateral flow tests. The Good Law Project First revealed that Tanner Pharma had supplied some tests that were unusable, but the value of these tests and the reason why they were not used are unknown.

A Tanner Pharma UK spokesperson said: “Tanner Pharma UK Ltd was contracted by the DHSC to distribute Orient Gene Lateral Flow Covid-19 tests for use in the United Kingdom, an additional addition to our operations and expansion of distribution channels Investment was required.

“These tests were among the minority to be evaluated at Porton Down, as they have both very high specificity and very high sensitivity against viral loads associated with contagion. Proud to have successfully delivered reliable and accurate test kits.”

There have been many controversies over the amount of money paid to middlemen and facilitators during the Covid procurement process – not least the payment over £21m of taxpayers’ money to a Spanish middleman who helped sell personal protective equipment to the UK government by a Florida-based jewelry designer.

Along with the NAO, the government’s rapid testing program was also criticized Search that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) wasted £5.8 billion on lateral flow tests and PCR tests obtained by the Test-and-Trace programme.

Bourne is the founder and CEO of Bourne Partners, a “financial services firm specializing in the pharma, pharma services and consumer health sectors”, which invests in companies as well as advises on acquisitions and outside financing. He was previously a vice president of Wachovia Securities, a bank bought by Wells Fargo in 2008 for $15.1bn (£12.1bn).

Born says he has “invested in over 200 private companies/assets since 2000”, and is described on his LinkedIn page as the founder and chairman of Tanner Pharma as of 2003.

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