Over exposure to the recession-hit UK engineering sector has reversed five years of profit growth at engineering machinery distributor Charles Baynes.
The Weybridge-based firm, with 63% of sales in the UK, saw 1998 pre-tax profits fall 20.6% to £18.1m.
In industrial tools and consumables, turnover rose £6.6m to £100.4m for 1998 with operating profits holding steady at £8.5m.
Packaging profits fell from £3.8m to £1.5m on a turnover down £0.3m to £54m. Intensified competition to use up spare capacity contributed to a 5 10% fall in prices in this industry.
Turnover in flow control jumped £85m for 1997 to £129.3m in 1998 because of the September acquisition of Univalve, at a cost of £35m. But operating profits fell £1.2m to £7.5m.