Gooch & Housego, the aim listed industrial laser specialist, posted a hefty slide in first half pre-tax profit as it battles against challenging trading conditions.
The group, which specialises in laser technology used to make smartphones and other electronic devices, said pre-tax profit for the six months to 31 March 2012 fell to £2.5m, down from £3.9m the same time last year. Revenue for the period edged higher to £27.8m from £27.2m. Earnings per share fell to 8.7p from 13p.
Gooch, which slashed its full-year profit forecast by nearly a quarter in February following slowing orders from China, said it had experienced challenging trading conditions in the first quarter.
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It explained aerospace and defense were affected by delays but strong pipeline of near term opportunities. The industrial laser market was recovering and customer inventories were normalising.
Chief executive Gareth Jones commented, "Despite the challenges experienced during the period we have remained focussed on positioning G&H to deliver sustainable long-term growth in our target markets. With a strong pipeline of opportunities and more favourable trading conditions we retain a cautiously optimistic outlook."
An interim dividend of 2p per share declared. Net debt at end of period £5.6m compared to £5.5m previously.
On a brighter note, the group said it saw improving order activity through the second quarter, which continued into second half.
"After a very challenging first quarter, trading conditions have shown a steady and sustained improvement. We have used the period to make changes to our management team and put in place the structure to facilitate future growth as we execute our strategy."
"We have continued to make significant progress behind the scenes in developing our business in the Aerospace & Defence sector. Overall, we retain a positive outlook despite the wider uncertainties affecting the global economy."
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