Earth-moving kit maker Miller UK said it feels confident for the future after shortening its losses by almost a third in one year.
The Cramlington-based company, which makes buckets and couplers for companies such as Hitachi, Caterpillar and Volvo, recorded losses of £568,000 for 2012, down from the £842,464 it posted last year, annual accounts show.
The directors said the firm was in the best position it has been in for four years despite the losses, and reported a 10% lift in turnover to £19.3m, thanks to renewed confidence in the construction sector and successful trading at Miller International, a key part of the firm.
The company was a high profile victim of the economic downturn and saw sales drop by more than 80% in two years, but the forward order book recently stood at £78m, of which at least it was hoped 30% would be converted into orders by summer 2014. Headcount also increased at the firm from an average of 160 in 2011 to 174 last year.
The directors said: “In summary and despite a few poor years the directors have every reason to feel confident for the future and that the business continues to discover many and new opportunities for growth in both existing and new markets.
“The shareholders, directors and operational management continue to have confidence in the strategy going forward.”
Chris Parkin, chief operating officer, added: "We did take a significant hit at the start of the recession, as did the majority of our competitors, but since then we have taken positive steps to turn things around, introducing new management, investing in R&D, enhancing existing product lines and introducing new ones. As a result of these decisive actions we reduced losses by one third in the last financial year and trading continues to steadily improve, with net profit currently ahead of forecasts for 2013-14. It's also worth noting that these figures are specific to the UK operations, which are just one part of an international business, trading in more than 50 countries across the globe."