AGA Rangemaster confident of momentum

Shares of AGA Rangemaster, the maker of upmarket cookers and kitchen appliances, smouldered after it said trading for its major brands has shown some encouraging signs after a slow start to the autumn season.

Shares of AGA Rangemaster, the maker of upmarket cookers and kitchen appliances, smouldered after it said trading for its major brands has shown some encouraging signs after a slow start to the autumn season.

AGA volumes continued to rise 4% at the half year, the group said. The recent addition of the programmable 5-oven iTotal Control and the development of more effective international dealer structures should help maintain momentum, Aga explained.

Rangemaster continues to show resilience with growth on the continent off-setting UK market weakness. Conditions in Ireland remain tough and sales there are stabilising at levels appreciably below last year, it said.

Fired Earth maintained its like-for-like improvement with orders up over 8% after a robust performance in tiles and is trading at close to break-even for the year.

Elsewhere in North America AGA Marvel continues to make progress and based on new market opportunities the group expects an appreciably better 2013.

Meanwhile Grange was negatively impacted by its US operation.

The new financing arrangements for Aga's pension scheme are also close to finalisation. A further update will be provided in due course.

Otherwise Aga said work is going well in preparation for the 2013 launch of its products in China by its partner, Vatti, and for the launch in Europe of their products.

William McGrath, Chief Executive commented: "This is a sound trading performance for the group. The progress of our product offering and the expected finalisation of the pension financing arrangements combine to give an air of optimism for 2013."

CJ

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