600 Group beyond turning corner as profits leap

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​MACHINE tool maker The 600 Group ​reported a quadrupling of underlying annual profits and said it sees further growth ahead.

​The Leeds-based firm said​ order intake increased 14 per cent to £42.5m in the year to March 29 and orders since then are ahead of last year.

​600’s chief executive Nigel Rogers said: “We’re beyond turning the corner. That was six to nine months ago. We’re now seeing really solid figures.

“We were a business that needed a lot of change a few years ago. We’re now performing very well and that’s being reflected in the figures. However, there is still more to be done.”​

​Underlying pre-tax profits rose from £500,000 to £2m over the year.

Talking about trading over the past three months, Mr Rogers said: “We’ve seen strength in the UK market. Sales were up by a third in the UK over the year. The UK market has been very strong for us and that has continued.

​“It’s a combination of the Government and manufacturers themselves. The level of confidence is feeding appetite for investment,” he added.

Market conditions are expected to improve across the world with industry forecasts anticipating worldwide growth in machine tools of seven per cent.

The leading drivers will be Europe, which is expected to see growth of 13 per cent, and North America, which is expected to see nine per cent growth.

Analyst David Buxton, at FinnCap, said: “Full-year results were in line with our forecasts, with considerable progress achieved, and pointing to a good start to the current year, with underlying market conditions improving.

“Management’s focus has moved from turning the business around towards actions that accelerate growth.”