The group, which employs more than 100 people in Dundee, saw turnover fall by 7% to £52m and pre-tax profit by 48%, from £3m to £1.57m, according to accounts just published at Companies House. Debt rose marginally to £2.42m.
The directors led by Sir Angus and managing director Ian Matheson said the company had experienced "very challenging market conditions". Their report said the group continued to deliver steady volume growth in dental materials, but in common with major competitors was hit by a downturn in capital equipment as both the state and private dentists curtailed capital investment.
Gross margins slipped from 33.1% to 30.8%. Costs were cut 2%, as staff numbers fell from 419 to 393. The dividend was cut from £1.1m in 2011 to £830,000, with an unchanged interim payout likely for the current year. The highest-paid director, thought to be Mr Matheson, saw remuneration fall from £293,000 to £279,000.
UK sales are down to £28m from £31.3m two years ago, while the previous year's offsetting rise in South African turnover was reversed, from £23.7m to £21.6m. Wright's subsidiaries are involved in sales and distribution in South Africa,where it has three subsidiaries, manufacturing in Hungary, and laboratory materials distribution in the US.
In the US sales dipped from £1.25m to £1.17m, and in Hungary there was a slide from £1.1m to £1m.
The directors say 2013 will see continued cuts in state funding and pressures on private dental plans due to austerity biting. But the group "continues to operate from a solid platform" with a strong balance sheet.