Romag profits down

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Romag Holdings, the Durham-based glass and plastic composites maker, has reported pre-tax profits of £1.08m, down from £3.73m a year earlier, following a slump in demand for its glass products.

The company, which develops composite materials for solar photovoltaic (PV) devices used in the energy, security, transport and architecture markets, also reported revenue down 41 per cent to £19.7m from £33.6m following difficult market conditions.

As a result, the company took restructuring action in 2009 resulting in the loss of 70 employees and the renegotiation of material input prices. Market changes have also led the group to refocus its geographic spread and in the year ahead the company hopes to extend its activities to Africa, the Middle East and the US.

However, sales in the UK performed well with a growth of 61 per cent over last year accounting for 53 per cent of total sales. Chief executive, Lyn Miles, said that the company was planning to increase its UK market share and hoped for further positive growth following the introduction of the government’s feed-in tariff in April.

‘As far as solar is concerned, the UK market sadly has lagged behind, because the rest of mainland Europe has introduced feed-in tariffs much sooner that the UK,’ she told The Engineer Online. ‘But in the UK, the government has taken its time, done its research and hopefully come up with a system that works. We’re hoping that 2010 will be a year of recovery and a large part of that will come from the UK.’

Globally, sales to the specialist transport market have shown growth and the company said that it is seeing increasingly positive signs that the PV and construction markets are starting to show signs of recovery.

The group has also signed two multi-year agreements with Kingspan Group and British Gas and believes that it is in a strong position to take advantage of the upturn.

Chairman, John Kennair, said: ‘During the final quarter of 2009 and even more so since the year end, we have experienced an increase in the number of identified opportunities and have witnessed significant price stabilisation in the PV markets.

‘The new products developed by Romag throughout the year and the agreements with Kingspan and British Gas announced today lead the directors to believe that Romag is well positioned to take advantage of the market recovery in 2010 and beyond.’