Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Vision for International Growth for Firm in 2010

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Vision for International Growth for Firm in 2010

Article excerpt

Byline: John Hill

SECURITY firm Petards says that its growth in 2010 could be reflected more in building markets than boosting revenue.

The delivery of a Ministry of Defence helicopter systems contract worth pounds 2.5m helped the Gateshead company to better-than-expected profits of pounds 1m last year. But finance director Andy Wonnacott said that "uncertainty" over the size and amount of contracts available, especially from Government, was likely to be reflected in "modest" growth for the firm in 2010.

Petards said pre-tax profit for the year ending December 31, 2009 had risen by 45% compared to pounds 700,000 last year. It is the second straight yearly profit for the firm, which saw its shares suspended back in 2008 because it was unable to come to a funding arrangement with its banks.

He said: "We now have a fairly robust business, having turned it around from several years of losses, but future growth will really be determined by what our customers are spending.

While our customers aren't all directly government agencies, there are connections there.

"We're seeing modest progress in 2010 because of the uncertainty. We think the progress we'll make in 2010 will be not so much seen in revenue but in the markets we're serving."

Mr Wonnacott said that defence accounted for around half of the 110-employee company's revenue, but that it was also active in the emergency services and transport sectors. He attributed 2009's performance to strong margins on its products. Gross margins rose to 38% from 32% the previous year. The firm's operating profit also rose 34% from pounds 900,000 to pounds 1.3m in the period. He said: "We had an order from the Ministry of Defence for electronic countermeasures for helicopters which was due for delivery in the final quarter. This business is really contract-led, and we had the MoD order and some other orders placed earlier in the year.

"We were expecting pre-tax profit of about pounds 750,000 for the financial year, so obviously these results are very pleasing. …

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