ERJ staff report (DS)
London -- Fenner PLC, the belting manufacturer, said pre-tax profits fell slightly in the six months to 29 Feb 2008, but sales were up and the outlook for the rest of the year is good. The company has two operating divisions. One makes conveyor belts for mines and other applications. The other makes high precision belts for office automation and sealing products for the hydraulics sector.
Revenue for the period increased by 8 percent to £201.1m ( Euro 254 million) from £185.5m a year earlier with solid performances in both divisions. Pre-tax profit was £13.9m , down from £15.9m a year earlier, but this decrease was largely due to exceptionals. Operating profit before exceptional items increased by 19 percent to £19.2m (2007 £16.2m). The company said this robust growth was facilitated by operating efficiencies and economies of scale on higher throughput with 3 percent growth derived from acquisition activities.
The company said six acquisitions have been completed prior to, and after, the period end. The costs associated with these acquisitions had affected the exceptional items leading to the decline in pre-tax profit.
Fenner said its Conveyor Belting Division, reported revenues up to £136.3m from £123.4m with strong energy markets driving robust demand for its products and services. The company said it increased margins through productivity improvements and plant efficiencies which overcame the effects of operating in an environment of increasing input costs.
Fenner said it will continue to transform its activities in the second half of the year. The company said, "The indications in this dynamic environment are most encouraging for further growth to be achieved, with our businesses well placed in a number of strong markets to capitalise on the opportunities available to us."
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Press release from Fenner