Challenging markets trip up profits at safety harness firm Latchways

June 9, 2014
By

Annual profits at Latchways, the Devizes-based specialist safety harnessing firm, have fallen by a third in what it called challenging conditions.

Pre-tax profits for the year to the end of March dropped to £6.8m against £10.3m last time on group revenues down 9% to £38.5m.

Chairman Paul Hearson said: “Despite the challenging conditions in our core markets that we talked of earlier in the year, we are encouraged by the current level of prospects across the business.

“Underlying order intake in the first two months of the year has been in line with the same period last year and we will make further progress as our new sales resources and North American operation start to contribute.”

Latchways said it had performed strongly in North America where it has a new sales and distribution facility.

The firm admitted trading conditions had been mixed during the year. It said it made “considerable progress” in North America with new product ranges performing particularly well.

However, these had not been sufficient to offset weakness in its traditional construction-facing markets. Trading was also hit by the lack of the new product line launches which had lifted sales during the previous year.

The firm said it had seen signs of increased early stage activity in the UK construction market – although this would take time to feed through to improved business as its products were normally required at the end of a new build or refurbishment project. European markets remain subdued.

The final dividend was increased by 10% to 27.5p

The firm is the world leader in the design, manufacture and sale of fall protection safety systems. Its products are used by people working on rooftops, wind power turbines, electricity transmission towers, aircraft wings and industrial plants.

 

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