AGA Rangemaster sees sales slip in tough market

Upmarket cooker and kitchen accessories firm AGA Rangemaster saw revenues slip slightly in 2012 and warned that a market upturn in the near future in unlikely as it continues to be affected by a subdued housing market.

Upmarket cooker and kitchen accessories firm AGA Rangemaster saw revenues slip slightly in 2012 and warned that a market upturn in the near future in unlikely as it continues to be affected by a subdued housing market.

The company said on Friday morning that it has decided not to pay a final dividend, compared with a 1.9p-a-share total payout in 2011, after coming to an agreement on funding with the trustee of the main pension scheme.

Revenues fell 2.5% from £250.9m to £244.6m last year as the firm saw "little respite to the long-running weakness of the consumer markets in which we operate". The weakening euro also had a negative affect on top-line growth.

On the other hand, the firm said that sales of AGA cookers, tiles from its Fired Earth shops and Marvel refrigerators in North America were showing "encouraging progress". Other investments and collaborations internationally - such as those in China - also provide a good base for "rapid expansion", AGA said.

In spite of falling sales and a flat core market, the company was able to grow its profit before tax from £7.5m to £8.4m over the year, helped by cost and efficiency programmes.

AGA said that sales in core UK markets are linked directly to the housing market and transaction levels are beginning to "edge up", helped by the government's focus on the sector. "However, current trading conditions continue to be flat.This means that our additional focus on strategic positioning in international markets is likely to prove crucial to delivering renewed momentum."

Net cash stood at just £5.5m at the end of 2012, copmared with £31.3m the year before, though this was mainly due to contributions into the pension scheme and scaling down the pension deficit.

Current tradingThe company's outlook on Friday was a touch gloomy, as it said that pressures on consumers have reduced the number of house moves and home-improvement initiatives.

"These factors have impacted our operations for some years, and we have to prepare for a continuation of the flat markets we have been seeing."

2013 so far has been characterised as a slow January and positive February, with a notable pick-up against last year seen in AGA Marvel in North America and for Fired Earth.

However, AGA orders are flat and Rangemaster orders have trended down ahead of the sales and marketing initiatives planned for this spring, the company said.

BC

Recommended

The ten highest dividend yields in the FTSE 100
Income investing

The ten highest dividend yields in the FTSE 100

Rupert Hargreaves takes a look at the companies with the highest dividend yields in the UK’s blue-chip index
23 Jan 2023
The top ten dividend stocks in the FTSE 250
Share tips

The top ten dividend stocks in the FTSE 250

The average FTSE 250 dividend yield is around 4%, but many stocks yield much more. Rupert Hargreaves picks the best FTSE 250 stocks for income investo…
17 Jan 2023
The top funds to invest in
Funds

The top funds to invest in

As market volatility and recessionary fears continue, here are the most popular funds, stocks and trusts investors are putting their money into accord…
5 Jan 2023
Investing trends to watch out for in 2023: what analysts say
Investment strategy

Investing trends to watch out for in 2023: what analysts say

What are sensible strategies for high inflationary times? We ask analysts to find out.
22 Dec 2022

Most Popular

House prices could fall 30%. Should investors be worried about a repeat of 2008?
Investments

House prices could fall 30%. Should investors be worried about a repeat of 2008?

Some analysts are predicting that house prices could fall as much as 30%, which, when compared to the fact that prices have jumped 28% since April 201…
24 Jan 2023
Will energy prices go down in 2023?
Personal finance

Will energy prices go down in 2023?

Wholesale gas prices are on a downward trajectory, but does this mean lower energy bills later this year?
27 Jan 2023
Council tax increases 2023 – how much more will you pay?
Tax

Council tax increases 2023 – how much more will you pay?

Your council tax bill will go up in April - we reveal the councils that have confirmed what this year’s increase will be.
23 Jan 2023