Fenner warns on profit as US miners tighten belts

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Fenner, a maker of conveyor belts for the mining industry, warned it might miss market expectations for full-year profit as troubled US coal miners continue to defer spending on maintenance.

Shares in the company tumbled more than 15 per cent on Friday, making it the top percentage loser on the FTSE 250 index.

The Hessle-based business, which has been struggling with a slowdown in the global mining industry, also blamed the missed forecast on its failure to clinch an Australian iron ore contract worth between £2m and £2.5m, a “relatively large” deal for the company.

It said underlying pretax profit would be 10 to 15 per cent lower for the year ended August 31 relative to the market consensus of £77.6m.

“The lion’s share of this impact has to be attributed to North America,” chief financial officer Richard Perry told analysts.

Underlying pretax profit was expected to be flat in 2015 at Fenner’s North American conveyor belt business, he added.

Fenner blamed coal prices in the US being kept low despite an increase in coal being burnt.

The company was founded in in Hull in 1861.