Lesedauer: min

Historic metal castings company Bondshold has cut its pre-tax losses and highlighted the merit of its decision to close two County Durham operations. Chairman Paul Duncan has told Insider he is now anticipating a "truly transformational year".

The group can trace its roots back to 1868 and today has operations in Crook, Cumbria, Sheffield and Scunthorpe through its Bonds Foundry, Bonds Precision Castings, Darwins Castings and Bonds Heavy Castings subsidiaries respectively.

The latter of the four was established in October 2016 on the back of the acquisition of Bradken UK.

For the year to 30 September 2016, Bondshold reported turnover of £14.4m compared to £14.9m the previous 12 months.

Pre-tax losses were slashed from £1.06m to £808,052.

The company said markets had remained subdued during the year but added that currency rates and the rising oil prices had helped secure significant order book improvements post-year-end.

Profitability was restored at Bonds Precision Castings on what the group called "somewhat reduced turnover", while Bonds Foundry "again lost money". However, it stressed that the post year-end decision to close its two Tow Law sites was 'evident in the first-half 2017 figures'.

Bonds Foundry confirmed in October 2016 that it was consulting with 112 workers about a proposed consolidation of its operations after "another year of reduced activity in the oil and gas market" and the "impending threat of Brexit having an adverse effect on our business to European markets".

Elsewhere, the timing of the Bonds Heavy Castings transaction was hailed as "hugely beneficial" to the group as it yielded re-continuation to growth with an expected £22m turnover in 2017, improved financial stability and recovery in profitability.

"The Scunthorpe plant brings new products from an enhanced skill-base, new customers and potential new business from Australia, South Africa and the US, supported by a three-year supply agreement to Bradken worldwide, and will attenuate our reliance on EU markets," it said.

Looking ahead, chairman Paul Duncan told Insider: "We are now three-quarters of the way through financial year 2017, which will turn out to be a truly transformational year.

"The acquisition and formation of Bonds Heavy Castings in Scunthorpe has led to a group order book at record levels, a 50 per cent hike in sales, fixed assets doubling and a recovery in profitability. There has also been a turnaround at the recently developed Bonds Foundry site in Crook, which with 83 people is our headquarters and biggest employment location."