Carpet firm refuses to be floored by slump

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CARPET maker Airea bucked the weak economy by posting higher half-year profits and a growing cash balance.

The Ossett, West Yorkshire-based company said commercial demand compensated for weak consumer appetite, helping pre-tax profits rise to £270,000 in the six months to the end of 2012, from £155,000 a year earlier.

Revenues dipped to £13.5m from £13.9m.

Cash doubled to £3.1m but Airea said it will not pay an interim dividend.

“Whilst we can foresee little change in the trading environment in the near future, we are well placed to make further progress in the second half of our financial year based on the ongoing development of our product offer, the continuing strengthening of our trading network, particularly overseas, and ongoing cost reduction programmes,” said the company.

“Whereas we are encouraged by the prospects for the business, and the improvement in the cash position, we feel it is right to maintain a prudent approach.

“As a result the board has decided that any dividend payment should be judged in the light of the financial performance for the year as a whole, and consequently we will not be making a dividend payment at the interim stage.”

Airea operates under two brands; upmarket Ryalux, used in homes, and Burmatex, which serves the office, contract and commercial sectors.

Airea said residential sales were “once again adversely affected by fragile customer demand”. 

However, contract sales held up well as it made “significant progress” in overseas markets and new products were successful.

Margins were boosted by pricing, an improved sales mix and by doing more of its own manufacturing.