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Steel and oil downturn dents Chamberlin

The Walsall-based foundry group Chamberlin saw its annual results hit by the weak euro and the downturns in the steel, oil and gas and mining sectors.

The business slipped to a loss before tax of £200,000 for the year to the end of March from a £100,000 profit  a year earlier and revenues was down from £40.8m to £35m.

Better news was that a major new automotive contract for its Walsall foundry, announced in February, will begin to be delivered in the second half of the current financial year.

Chairman Keith Butler-Wheelhouse said: "Trading conditions over the year have been challenging, with a continuing slowdown in the group's core markets and the strength of Sterling against the euro a significant headwind."

He said that revenues and underlying profit before tax of £700,000 were in line with market expectations.

Mr Butler-Wheelhouse added that the performance had been supported by a tight focus on cost and a programme to improve efficiencies and improve processes.

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"The group has closed the financial year with major new contracts wins which support a return to profit growth as production volumes come on stream. This is encouraging and our accompanying initiative to establish a new machining facility will position the group as the only fully integrated supplier of grey iron bearing housings in Europe. We remain very excited about the significant new long term growth opportunities this opens up.

"While there is still work to be done, the group is in a stronger position than it was two years ago and we remain committed to delivering further progress," he added.

The group operates three foundries, at Walsall, Leicester and Scunthorpe.

Its Walsall foundry at Chuckery Road is its flagship operation and drives approximately half the foundry division's sales. It has expertise n producing small castings and the automotive turbocharger segment is a major market for the foundry.

To support the new contract it is investing an initial £1.6m in a new machining facility that is expected to open up significant new long term growth opportunities, with Walsall positioned as the only fully integrated supplier of grey iron bearing housings in Europe.

Source: www.expressandstar.com

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