Aerospace is set for a flat year and could see a downturn in orders next year, UK engineering group Doncasters has warned.
The company said over-stocking last year meant that orders were not coming through now and it predicted a ‘tough’ first quarter.
But chief executive Dr Ian Dillamore predicted a positive outcome for the full year because of growing demand in Doncasters’ industrial turbines division.
Last week’s fourth-quarter figures for the group were warmly welcomed by sector analysts in New York, where the company is listed. Doncaster’s aerospace sales totalled £115.1m last year, 39% of group turnover.
The company, which acquired Triplex-Lloyd in late 1997, counts engine makers Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce as major customers. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of exhaust nozzles and supplies parts for the short-haul Boeing 737 and Airbus’ A320.
Dillamore said Doncasters did not suffer from Boeing’s cutbacks in production last year, which was mainly confined to the long-haul 747.
‘If Boeing loses a 737 order we still pick up work from Airbus, from which we make more revenue per set because their designs are more complicated.’
Doncasters reported full-year net income of £11.8m, up from £10.6m a year ago. Sales surged from £132.6m to £295m, reflecting the inclusion of Triplex-Lloyd.