Avon Rubber, the Wiltshire-based specialist manufacturer, said it was confident of further growth this year as its investment in innovative new products and entry into new markets paid off.
In an interim management statement for the period between October 1 and yesterday, the Melksham-based group said it had enjoyed a positive start to its financial year.
Its core protection and defence business, which designs and manufactures respirators and gasmasks for military and homeland security customers, strengthened its order book including a £14.7m Middle Eastern order announced last year May 2012. This resulted in a stronger first quarter performance compared to the previous year, Avon said.
The firm delivered its M50 mask systems to the US Department of Defense (DoD) at a similar rate to 2012 and, despite continued uncertainty, believes it is should not be significantly impacted by US government cuts in the defence budget.
It already has orders in hand for mask systems through to the end of its third quarter. It delivered 130,000 pairs of M61 filters during the period and secured orders for a further 100,000 pairs which it expects to deliver in its second quarter.
“So far sales to the US homeland security and first responder markets have been significantly stronger than in 2012,” the firm said.
In its dairy products division, which makes parts for milking machines, its Milkrite ImpulseAir mouthpiece vented liner continued to perform well and it achieved further quarter-on-quarter sales growth at its newly established Chinese operation.
However there was fluctuating demand for its consumable products as lower milk prices and higher feed costs in its traditional markets reduced farmer revenues and margins.
“Planned new product introductions should provide opportunities for growth in the remainder of the year,” Avon said.
Looking ahead the firm said: “Given the positive start to the year, the board is confident of meeting full year market expectations, despite the challenges provided by the uncertain economic and political environment, particularly in the US.”
As previously announced Sir Richard Needham, the former Conservative minister and North Wiltshire MP, will retire as a director at today’s AGM
Free legal advice clinics are being offered to small and medium-sized Wiltshire firms thinking about exporting their goods and services. Swindon and Bath-based law...