Slowdown in British orders dents profits at 600 Group

A slowdown in orders from 600 Group’s UK customers has caused a slump in profits, the machine tool company said last week. It said it had also incurred exceptional £2.1m costs from redundancies, with 15% of the 1,400-strong UK workforce losing their jobs, and the closure of its GCS steel stockholding business. Chief executive Tony […]

A slowdown in orders from 600 Group’s UK customers has caused a slump in profits, the machine tool company said last week.

It said it had also incurred exceptional £2.1m costs from redundancies, with 15% of the 1,400-strong UK workforce losing their jobs, and the closure of its GCS steel stockholding business.

Chief executive Tony Sweeten said orders for machine-tools had reduced substantially and expected US and UK demand had not materialised.

Sales dropped by 12% after orders halved in the US and slumped by about 40% in the UK.

The company predicted that poor demand was likely to continue well into next year, though Sweeten said he was looking for an improvement after that.

He said similar problems were being experienced by industry rivals and this would give 600 Group a number of acquisition opportunities.

The company is ungeared and has the resources to make several deals.

Shares in 600 Group ended the week at 75.5p, having recovered some of the ground lost immediately after the results.