Charter reports growth

Charter International, owner of welding, cutting and automation specialists ESAB and air and gas handling company Howden, today issued encouraging preliminary results for the year ended December 31 2008.

According to Charter, total revenue increased by 30 per cent, ESAB’s revenue increased by 30 per cent and Howden’s revenue increased by 31 per cent.

Howden’s order book stands at a year-end record of £499m, including £110m of orders for delivery beyond 2009.

Adjusted profit before tax came in at £212.5m, an increase of 17 per cent.

Adjusted earnings per share also increased by 17 per cent to 99.2.

Charter’s directors are expected to declare a final dividend of 14 pence per share, making a total for the year of 21 pence compared with 12 pence in 2007.

‘Charter’s results for 2008 show material growth compared with 2007 in terms of revenue, profit and earnings per share, and further demonstrate the progress that has been made in developing both ESAB and Howden,’ said Michael Foster, chief executive.

‘Since October 2008 there has been a marked deterioration in global economic and financial conditions, which had led to reduced demand for ESAB welding consumables and equipment,’ he added.

‘Notwithstanding this slowdown, as we progress through 2009, we can take confidence from the global presence, market leadership positions, strong technology and flexible cost bases of both ESAB and Howden.’