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Strong results for Low & Bonar in first half of year

TECHNICAL textiles firm Low & Bonar has seen its shares rise 3.5 per cent after posting a strong set of half year results.

The company, which has its historic roots in the Dundee jute trade and still employs around 120 in the city, saw a 6.6 per cent hike in revenue from £184.1 million to £196.3m in the six months to May 31.

Pre-tax profit for the period came in at £5.2m, up from £3.4m.

Chief executive Steve Good said: "We expect to continue to grow and extend our geographic reach over the next two years."

The Bonar division, which makes carpet backings, roofing components, agricultural textiles and construction fibres, saw its revenue grow 3.4 per cent to £115.1m on strong performance in civil engineering markets as well as the US housing sector.

Operating profit grew 10.4 per cent to £7.4m.

In technical coated fabrics, side curtains for lorry trailers, advertising banners, marquees and awnings, there was a 7.7 per cent uplift in revenue to £63.3m.

Operating profits in technical coated fabrics were up by almost 26 per cent to £6.8m.

At the yarns arm, which has its main base in Dundee and specialises in yarn for artificial grass and carpets, revenue was up almost 28 per cent to £17.9m.

However there was an operating loss of £100,000, compared to a profit of £200,000 in the corresponding period of 2013.

Mr Good said: "The yarns business is still not making the margins that we have targeted to make across the group so we are working hard to improve things.

"We have quite a bit of volume growth in a recovering market.

"The market is still very competitive as what is being sold is less than previously so there is plenty of spare capacity around.

"We are heading in the right direction

"But [there is] more to do to improve the performance of the business really."

Mr Good said the Scottish independence referendum vote was not something which was causing Low & Bonar concern.

He said: "We don't have manufacturing other than Dundee in the UK."

According to Mr Good, Low & Bonar has "nothing imminent" in terms of acquisitions. Shares closed up 2.75p at 81p.

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