600 Group eyes up double digit growth as turnaround progresses

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​​MACHINE tool maker The 600 Group said revenues picked up in the second half as its turnaround gathered pace.

​The Heckmondwike-based firm said revenues and order intake during ​its​ final quarter ​covering the first three months of 2014 were particularly encouraging.

Industry forecasts ​suggest a return to double digit market growth​ this year​, led by North American and European markets.

The group said it saw strong sales ​at ​its ​Electrox Laser ​business ​following the successful launch of new product ranges ​last​ September.

600 said ​revenue growth ​followed further gains in market share​ despite a backdrop of challenging conditions​ last year​.

Worldwide the total market consumption of machine tools ​fell by 8.5 per cent in 2013, led by a significant reduction in consumption in Asia and North America​.

European markets ​were ​more stable and the company said it expects results for the year to March 29​ to be in line with expectations following a positive start to the new financial year.

​​​​Analyst David Buxton at FinnCap said: “Revenue growth in the second half was ahead of the first half.

“This is against a difficult industry trend where worldwide machine tools consumption fell by 8.5 per cent, with a significant reduction in Asia and North America, while European markets were more stable.

“The outlook is positive given this level of order intake, with the machine tools industry expected to return to double-digit growth this year.”

​In February, 600 terminated talks with Chinese suitor Qingdao D&D Investment Group over the sale of selected assets.

It said that despite extensive discussions, D&D had failed to make progress on agreed and continually extended deadlines.

As a result 600 told the Chinese firm that all discussions about the potential sale of assets were terminated.

The firm said that during the sales process every care had been taken to avoid management from becoming distracted.

600 returned to profit late last year.