Midlands-based car components group Bostrom expects the US market to fuel future growth after substantial investment last year.
As Bostrom announced annual profits of £7.8m for last year on turnover of £135.7m, chairman Martin Makey said he was optimistic about prospects.
The company now derives more than 50% of its sales abroad. Last year it took control of National Seating Corporation in a £6.2m deal that increased its shareholding from 47.3% to 92.6%. NSC is benefiting from strong underlying demand for trucks in the US, for which it makes seating.
Makey said NSC’s acquisition was part of a plan to continue diversifying out of the UK and to provide growth in the medium term.
The acquisitions added £57.5m to group turnover last year, though no more deals are planned for 1999, Makey said.
Investment will centre on improving existing plant. Capital expenditure totalled £5.3m last year.
Makey expressed frustration at the group’s share price, which has yet to reflect Bostrom’s improved performance. At 188.5p last week, it is worth just over half the year’s high of 345p.
‘It is naturally disappointing and the corresponding illiquidity in smaller company shares is a worrying phenomenon,’ he added.