Clean machines boost Ricardo

Shoreham-based engine and transmission systems specialist Ricardo boasted a four-fold increase in enquiries in the second quarter of the year. The company unveiled a 17% rise in half-year profits to £4.5m, fuelled by booming demand from car makers for more efficient emission-control systems. Ricardo took a £400,000 exceptional charge as the cost of setting up […]

Shoreham-based engine and transmission systems specialist Ricardo boasted a four-fold increase in enquiries in the second quarter of the year.

The company unveiled a 17% rise in half-year profits to £4.5m, fuelled by booming demand from car makers for more efficient emission-control systems.

Ricardo took a £400,000 exceptional charge as the cost of setting up a new Midlands Technical Centre in Leamington, Warwickshire last year.

But it said it was withstanding the downturn in the new car market well and was hopeful of further improvement for the full year.

Chief executive Rodney Westhead said car makers would need more efficient engines and transmission systems regardless of market demand for their vehicles.

The group supplies Ford, DaimlerChrysler, GM, Volvo, Caterpillar and for the first time in five years Fiat.

The technical centre in Leamington now employs 150 people out of a group total of 1,250. All of Ricardo’s transmission engineering operations are based there.

Westhead said that he continued to look for acquisition opportunities for the group, adding that he was undecided whether to move into Germany through acquisition or by expanding its existing operations there.

Three new regional offices are planned to open in Germany to cater for engine and transmission design for six big car makers. All the company’s test facilities will remain in the UK.