Listed engineering firm’s profits hit

Industrial engineering firm, 600 Group, says its results have been hit by difficult market conditions, compounded by the disruption caused by the pandemic in the second half.

But the Elland-based business, which has today released its results for the year ended 28 March 2020, explains it has taken decisive action to cut costs and keep its workforce together so it can react quickly as markets improve.

600 Group’s revenue from continuing operations increased by 3.1% to $67.2m/£50.6m (2019: $65.2m/£49.1m). And the business made a pre-tax loss after adjusting items of $0.63m/£474,000 (2019: profit $4.3m/£3.2m).

Group profit before tax and adjusting items was $1.1m/£828,000 (2019: $4.1m/£3m).

The company’s report cites macro-economic uncertainty but positive long-term fundamentals, adding: “Whilst there continues to be reduced activity, orders have returned to acceptable levels.”

Outlining its response to the pandemic, the company says it has used Government stimulus packages, post March 2020, including loans under the USA Government Paycheck Protection Program and the UK Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Scheme (CLBILS).

Some staff have been furloughed under the UK Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and many employees accepted temporary salary reductions.

The Board has reduced overheads and deferred all non-critical capital expenditure.

600 Group says its debt is currently at $13.8m/£10.4m, excluding lease liabilities but including the Government loan assistance. The Group is covenant compliant with adequate banking facilities.

Paul Dupee, executive chairman, said: “The Group made significant strides forward in the first half of the year, eliminating the Group’s UK final salary pension scheme, significantly de-risking the Group’s balance sheet, opening of the new European Technology Centre and acquiring Control Micro Systems, a highly complementary business to the Group’s existing laser division.

“We have taken the decision to expand our growth in Orlando, Florida. Orlando leads the US in photonics technology and we see exciting opportunities in the region.

“I would like to thank all our employees for their ongoing support, commitment and dedication to the Group during these difficult times.

“Despite the short-term end-market weaknesses and macroeconomic uncertainty, the Board continues to believe in the long-term fundamentals of the Group; in brand promotion, investment in new, higher end product capabilities and diversification into new markets and selective acquisitions.”

The 600 Group is a distributor, designer and manufacturer of industrial products with three principle areas of activities – machine tools, precision engineered components and industrial laser systems.