The BBA Group is one of the companies singled out in the Close Brothers report. The company disposed of many of its traditional engineering businesses to focus on its two core sectors: high-tech materials and aviation. Under Roberto Quarta, chief executive, the company now manufactures brake pads and non-woven materials for use in hygiene applications such as nappies. It has also expanded its existing aircraft components business into corporate aircraft servicing. According to Quarta, manufacturers need to understand the importance of standing out from the crowd when attracting shareholders. `Shareholders have a choice, so we need to be responsive to their sentiments,’ he said.
FKI is another example cited by Close Brothers of a manufacturer that has responded successfully to the fall in share prices across the engineering sector. The company has added a logistics business to its core operation of producing turbo-generators. John Biles, finance director, said 2000 will see more manufacturers following this lead, as they seek to identify their main growth areas. `We may also see some companies trying to do a GEC-Marconi by selling all their traditional businesses and buying into a new area.’