Profits slump by almost a third at Wiltshire manufacturer

Profits at South West manufacturer Avon Protection fell by almost 29 per cent over the last 12 months.

Profit before tax fell from £15m to just over £11m while revenues fell from £209m to £193m.

The Wiltshire firm which makes gas masks and protective gear for police forces and military organisations across the world said revenue is in line with expectations.

There has been strong growth in head protection following the commencement of deliveries of NG IHPS helmets, partially offsetting expected weaker demand in respiratory protection, resulting in year-on-year revenue decline of 7.5 per cent.

There has been lower revenues in the higher margin respiratory protection business and manufacturing ramp-up costs in head protection, which was offset by favourable Respiratory Protection product mix, lower freight costs and lower central overheads.

The firm is prediction high-single-digit revenue growth for the group over the next 12 months.

Revenues are expected to be weighted to the second half of the year.

Jos Sclater, Chief Executive Officer, said: “We made excellent strategic progress during 2023 and enter 2024 with a stronger, more stable business.

“We are now entering the transform stage of our strategy with a focus on delivering improved margins, cash flow and returns on capital for our shareholders.

“Avon has an exciting future and is well positioned to become the largest supplier of ballistic helmets to the US Department of Defense, complementing our existing position as the leading provider of respiratory products to the DOD and other NATO countries.

“I want to thank all our employees for the tenacity they have shown in overcoming a number of major challenges during 2023, including successfully exiting our loss-making armour business and ramping up production of the next generation IHPS helmet for the U.S. DOD. It is this dedication that will enable Avon Protection to deliver its strategy in the medium term, protecting more lives through our innovative products.”