Straight predicts second half improvements

LEEDS-based Straight, the environmental products firm, said it was set for a “much improved performance” after posting a first half loss.

In the six months ended June 30, the company’s loss before taxation was £100,000 after exceptional costs, compared with a profit of £800,000 in the same period last year.

Group sales increased in the first half of 2011 by 14 per cent to £15m. These sales were bolstered by contributions from the acquisitions made in 2010 and also by a significant increase in sales in the retail business. Underlying operating profit was £130,000, compared with £990,000 in the same period the year before.

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The company said: “The fall in operating profit was attributable to the rapid rise in polymer prices to unprecedented levels during the first part of the year, peaking in May. This rise impacted the profitability of certain contracts accepted prior to the increase in prices and the performance of the recently acquired manufacturing operation.”

James Newman, the chairman of Straight, said: “With the group transformed into a vertically integrated operation it is now well placed to make further progress in its key markets and also to exploit the demand for its products and services in other sectors”.

The chief executive, Jonathan Straight added: “The group now has a substantial asset base to serve its medium term needs and a strong and revitalised brand to capitalise on all available opportunities. We anticipate a much improved performance with the associated generation of cash during the second half of the year”.

The company also reported a “transformation” of its Hull site which has increased in size by two thirds. Most of the group’s products are now produced at its own manufacturing facilities.