Carclo defies the gloom to put on strong performance

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TECHNICAL plastics group Carclo said it has achieved a “solid” first half performance, despite the tough economic climate.

The Ossett, West Yorkshire-based company added it has traded in line with its expectations and its financial position remains strong.

“The board remains confident in the outlook for the full year,” said the company, headed by chief executive Ian Williamson.

Carclo said profits in its technical plastics division will be slightly behind last year’s first half, which was “unusually strong” due to a number of factors including the timing of tooling profits.

The company reported group pre-tax profits to £2.5m for the six months to September 30, 2010, thanks to strong growth in LED optical products and medical diagnostics.

However, Carclo said the technical plastics division has benefited from further growth in its US medical business and “significant” expansion of its Indian business.

“These factors should deliver a stronger second half performance and a continuing growth in profitability for the division in respect of the full year,” said the group.

Carclo added it has seen continued growth in its supercar lighting business, winning new projects and lifting profits ahead of a year ago. Top of the range supercars such as Aston Martin, Bugatti Veyron and Lamborghini all source their LED lighting from the company.

Carclo said its exit from the supply of automotive antennae and cables to Ford is proceeding to plan and will be complete by the end of this financial year.

The withdrawal will allow the group to redeploy resources to accelerate the growth of its specialist LED lighting business. LEDs or light emitting diodes can control, focus and spread light.

Unlike filament-based light sources, they use less power and last much longer.

The company added its aerospace businesses have traded well and have returned to profits growth.

Carclo has been signed up by one of the world’s leading smartphone manufacturers to work on the launch of a new concept phone due out at the end of the year.

Carclo’s innovative Conductive Inkjet Technology (CIT) will be used on the phone’s touch sensors, replacing the expensive indium tin oxide sensors that are currently used on all smartphones.

Yesterday the group said its Fine Line Technology project, part of its CIT division, has made “significant progress” and its Cambridge pilot line facility is ready for production.

Carclo said the pace of sampling for smartphones and tablets has stepped up as its commercial partner introduces the technology to the wider market.

Carclo believes CIT can be used for a whole range of applications including smartphones, tablets, PCs and laptops.

The group added production yields on larger format screens are “encouraging”. It expects volume production to begin in its fourth quarter.

Carclo is currently in talks with its banks on re-financing, has agreed terms, and expects to complete this shortly.

“The group’s financial position remains strong,” said the company.

Analysts at stockbrokers Charles Stanley forecast pre-tax profits of £8.8m for the year, with a dividend of 2.05p.