Belgravium finds the market soft

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‘SOGGY’ markets led to deferred orders and weaker half-year results at mobile computing firm Belgravium Technologies.

The Bradford-based company, which makes handheld terminals for sectors including aviation and fuel distribution, said pre-tax profits more than halved to £151,000 in the six months to the end of June, on a year earlier.

Revenues were down 9.4 per cent to £4.3m as customers hesitated over placing orders.

The company insisted it sits in a “very strong competitive position” and is confident the orders have not been cancelled but deferred. Net cash surged from £638,000 to £1.6m.

“The market has gone a bit softer on us,” said chairman John Kembery. “It’s very much soggy at the moment.

“It’s all got its roots in the general financial uncertainty that’s beleaguering everyone at the moment.

“Having said that, we’re not hurting. We’re not in any way panicking.”

Belgravium expects a stronger second half – although warned it may not be as strong as a year ago.

“There’s a lot of work in the pipeline,” said Mr Kembery. “The only thing I cannot say is quite when it will be placed.”

Markets started to soften in May and June, said managing director Mark Hardy.

However, the firm signalled its intent to pay a full-year dividend.

Shares plunged

Eric Burns, analyst at house broker WH Ireland, cut his full-year pre-tax forecast from £1.1m to £500,000, and moved to “market perform” from “buy”.

“In common with many in the wider electronics space, Belgravium is finding business frustratingly slow,” he said. “We exercise some degree of caution in our expectation for both this year and next, mindful of the somewhat anaemic economic backdrop.”