Annual figures show improvement for heat treatment group

Heat treatment group Bodycote, which recently opened a site at the AMRC in South Yorkshire, has reported better revenues and profits for the year to December 31, 2018.

The group saw turnover rise from £690.2m to £728.6m, while pre-tax profits of £132.2m compared with £117m in 2017.

Free cash flow of £97.4m showed an increase on the previous year’s levels of £83m, after expansionary capital expenditure of £44.1m.

Shareholders will receive a 9% increase on their full year ordinary dividend of 19p per share, reflecting the improved figures.

Chief executive Stephen Harris said: “2018 has, once again, demonstrated the strength of Bodycote’s strategy and business.

“We achieved double-digit growth in specialist technologies’ revenues, an excellent performance in our emerging markets and robust growth in civil aviation revenues.

“Combined with pricing discipline in the face of significant cost pressures, the group was able to improve return on sales.

“Together with the revenue growth this delivered a healthy increase in headline earnings per share.

“Our performance is testament to the group’s resilient operating model, with our focus on cashflow generation, operational efficiency and improving returns.”

He said outlook for the current financial year is good: “While we are conscious of the global macro-economic backdrop, we have entered 2019 well positioned and at this early point in the year, our expectations for 2019 remain unchanged.”

Bodycote has more than 40,000 customers serviced by more than 180 facilities around the world.

The group acquired a small facility in the US towards the end of the year, which, it said, fits well with its existing business in the South East, enhancing growth opportunities and helping with operating efficiency.

In addition, Bodycote disposed of two small non-core businesses in France and Germany, resulting in a net consideration of £8m.

The group’s total undrawn committed borrowing facility, at December 31, was £230m, which was unchanged from a year ago.

Bodycote is a leading provider of heat treatment and specialist thermal processing services.