UK - Castings Plc. pretax rises, but sounds caution on higher costs

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LONDON - Castings Plc. posted higher full-year pretax profit on the back of an increase in sales, but cautioned its H1 results would be affected by a delay in recovering rapid price increases in materials.

For the year to end March, the engineering group posted pretax profit of 16.66 million pounds, up from 13.06 million last year, while sales increased to 97.4 million pounds from 86.2 million pounds.

It recommended a final dividend of 7.29 pence per share compared with 6.94 pence per share last time.Looking ahead, Castings said the rapid increases in steel scrap, pig iron and alloy prices since January will have to be recovered, but that the delay in doing so 'will no doubt affect' its first-half results. It also expects substantial energy cost increases in October 2008.

It added that although the outlook on demand is satisfactory at the present time, it is seeing adjustments in schedules from some customers, which are offset by increases from others.

Castings said that although it is difficult to predict its prospects for the coming year, it is financially strong, adding it 'is well placed to come through what may prove to be a difficult period.'