A Wearside car parts manufacturer has seen sales rise by 15% following a strong year in which it won out over competitive pressures in the European automotive industry.
The Sunderland-based firm, part of the global giant Calsonic Kansei Corporation, has an on-site facility at Nissan as well as a factory in Pennywell, providing exhausts and plastic components to the Japanese car firm and others in the automotive industry.
Turnover reached £52.4m for the year ended March 2014, a lift of £7m and 15% on the previous year’s £45.4m.
However, operating profit dropped from £1.6m to £782,000 in the financial year, a figure the firm attributes to a weaker European car market.
Against this backdrop the firm said it was pleased it was profitable and satisfied with the overall performance.
A report accompanying the firm’s annual accounts said: “Whilst the result for the year shows a reduction in profitability compared with the prior year result, the directors are satisfied with the level of performance of the company, given the significant difficulties that continue to exist in the automotive industry within the European market in which the company operates.
“Competitive pressure in the European automotive market is a continuing risk for the company.
“The company manages this risk by developing close links with strategic customers and manufacturing high quality products which are continually analysed and benchmarked in order to identify cost reduction opportunities.
“The company is exposed to the movement in the euro to pound exchange rate to both sales and purchases in euro. The company hedges this exposure as far as possible by buying materials and components in euro currency with any surplus euros being sold for pounds through the company’s banks.”
The manufacturer also hired over the course of the year.
Headcount grew from an average of 350 members of staff to 406, with 54 of the new employees joining the manufacturing team and the remaining two strengthening sales and administration departments.
The firm also said it now has net liabilities of £600,000, compared with £300,000 as of March 31 2013, reflecting the impact of losses on the company’s defined pension scheme deficit, which has more than offset the proft achieved during the year.
As of March 31 this year, the net deficit of the pension scheme was £1.2m, compared with £1.3m 12 months’ earlier.
The directors didn’t recommend the payment of a dividend for the financial year.