Sharply rising demand for parcel-handling machinery and gas turbine technology lifted sales at FKI by 12% to £13bn in the year to March.
Its dedicated automated logistics division, FKI Logistex – formed at a cost of £509m early last year – saw sales mushroom to £212m from £55.3m on the back of surging business in parcel, postage and e-commerce order delivery from customers such as parcel distributor Federal Express, internet retailer Amazon and the UK’s Parcelforce.
Bob Beeston, FKI chief executive, said: `We’ve now got a terrific business in automated logistics, and the business is going to give us huge growth – somewhere in the range of 10-15% organic growth.’
A new automated parcel machine launched last week will lift sales further in the year ahead, according to Beeston.
`This is a really exciting product. I see it as the equivalent of the ATM. It will provide the ability to post a parcel 24 hours a day when the post office is shut.’
In the engineering division, a `seismic shift’ across the US towards gas turbine powered electricity generation, as a result of deregulation, led to a 65% rise in orders for FKI’s air-cooled, two-pole turbogenerator range. Investment in manufacturing enabled the operation to increase its turnover by 60% over last year’s level.
The £10.3m acquisition of HMA Power Systems in February is expected to give the company additional sales in marine electrical propulsion.
Group pre-tax profits before goodwill amortisation and reorganisation costs rose 6.2% to £172.6m, but fell 2% after costs.
During the year FKI’s order book almost doubled to £570m, but it warned that the continued strength of sterling could make it less competitive than European and Far Eastern manufacturers.
Copyright: Centaur Communications Ltd. and licensors