A strong order intake from the US, including contracts worth £25m with the Pentagon, has helped Wiltshire-based manufacturer Avon Rubber overcome the impact of the strong pound.
The firm, whose core respirator products are used by the military and emergency services, also benefited from buoyant orders for its dairy industry products, which are used by farmers to milk cows.
In an interim management statement to the London Stock Exchange today for the period between April 1 and yesterday, Melksham-based Avon trading had continued to be strong since the end of the first half of its financial year.
As a result, its board remains confident that full-year results will be in line with market expectations even after an estimated £1m reduction caused by currency fluctuations.
Avon has become the second West-based manufacturer in two days to reveal the impact of the strong pound. Yesterday Rotork, the Bath-based supplier of specialist equipment to the global oil and gas industry, said adverse currency movements pushed down half-year operating profits by 9%.
Last week aircraft-engine maker Rolls-Royce and global defence group BAE Systems said sterling's appreciation had wiped millions off their balance sheets.
Avon’s Protection & Defence business experienced another buoyant period, it said, winning further orders worth £25m from the US Department of Defense (DoD) since the half year, including a £19.6m order for 135,000 of its M50 protection masks.
Sales to the DoD were providing a healthy opening order book for next year, Avon said. It had also enjoyed an increased level of orders from other US customers, in particular from fire services for its newly-approved Deltair SCBA (Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus).
It has become the first supplier to receive approval for its closed-circuit escape breathing device (EEBD) under a new health and safety standard.
“This approval is an essential requirement under a solicitation by the US Navy which we expect to respond to later this calendar year,” Avon said in today’s statement.
Market conditions for its dairy business remained favourable and investments made in 2013 were now delivering benefits in North America, Europe and China.
Avon shares fell in early trading and by 9am were down 4.5p to 655.5p.