Ricardo expands in Germany as profits soar 25%

Automotive and powertrain engineering consultancy Ricardo is expanding its European operations on the back of strong growth in the UK and US.

The company, a member of the FTSE techMARK index, today announced pre-tax profits of £5.61m in the second half of 1999, up by nearly 25% on a year earlier. Turnover rose by 20% to £54.2m.

Further improvements are expected. Chief executive Rodney Westhead said: ‘I am confident that the overall performance of our business will continue to improve in the second half of the financial year. We expect to see continuing double digit profit growth.

The group’s German subsidiary, based in Frankfurt, has received its first orders from original equipment manufacturers in the country. And a satellite office has been set up in the Czech Republic to take advantage of what the company described as ‘competitively priced technical resources’ there.

In the US, the company is increasing its investment in test cells, management and premises to support an improving order book. Worldwide orders stood at £41m at the end of December, compared to £35m a year earlier. The improvement was particularly felt at Ricardo Test Automation, which started the year with a low order book.