600 Group shares tumble after warning

Left Paul Dupee (600's executive chairman) with Terry Allison (600's chief operating officer)
Left Paul Dupee (600's executive chairman) with Terry Allison (600's chief operating officer)
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Shares in machine tool maker 600 Group plunged 27 per cent after the group issued a profits warning.

The Elland-based firm said the outcome for the full year is expected to be "significantly below" the board’s previous expectations. The firm blamed macro-economic and political uncertainties which might create short-term disruption to trading.

600 said order intake in the fourth quarter is now expected to be significantly below originally predicted levels, with orders for Germany and the Far East in particular suffering delays, heavily influenced by the global automotive slowdown.

There was good progress in the firm’s UK business, where orders are over 100 per cent up on the prior year as well as continued good performance at its newly acquired CMS business, driven by its focus on healthcare and pharmaceuticals.

The firm said gross margins across the group are also holding up well.

However, these positive factors will not be enough to make up the shortfall from the likely revenue reduction and as a result, the outcome for the full year is expected to be significantly below expectations.

Despite the short-term end-market weaknesses and macroeconomic uncertainty, the board said it believes in the long-term fundamentals of the business and the strategy in place to de-risk and diversify the business.

The board added that it remains optimistic about the long-term future.

Analyst John Cummins at WH Ireland said: "As a result of these delays, we have reduced our 2020 revenue expectations by 7 per cent to $71.7m.

"For 2021, we cautiously assume a 6 per cent reduction in our previous revenue expectation to $77.1m.

"This morning’s news is clearly disappointing so soon after the interim results and whilst near-term weakness will be seen in the shares, we believe the business remains well positioned in its respective markets as trading conditions normalise."