Electric and hybrid vehicle innovator Sevcon has seen revenues soar by a quarter in the first six months of the year – and it foresees further strong growth amid signs the global low carbon market is set to shift to a higher gear.
Revenues for the Gateshead-based company for the six months to March 31 this year were $18.2m (£10.7m) compared with $14.7m (£8.6m) in the first six months of 2013.
Profits came in at $906,000, (£534,000) compared to an operating loss of $1.6 million (£940,000) in the first six months of last year.
Sevcon is listed on the NASDAQ but was launched on Gateshead’s Team Valley more than 50 years ago, where it is still based, and where it employs over half of its 115 staff.
The firm, which designs and manufactures motor controllers for a variety of on and off-road vehicles and is a global player with factories in China, Mexico and Poland, has experienced across the board growth in all of its key divisions and territories.
And president and chief executive officer Matt Boyle is bullish on the future prospects for electric and hybrid vehicles.
He said: “We believe the market will begin a meaningful shift towards larger electric and hybrid vehicles, and that inflection point may well be closer than many people think.
“Our product roadmap has the potential to put us in the sweet spot for this next phase of electric vehicle market growth.”
“We believe that underlying demand is slowly gathering strength in the majority of our markets worldwide. “Our lead times and order visibility are continuing to improve, and our portfolio of customer relationships is expanding.
“Although we are investing in Sevcon’s future growth, our business continues to benefit from having a low-cost, flexible manufacturing model.
“As a result, we believe that Sevcon is positioned to deliver significant margin leverage on incremental sales as conditions in our markets improve.”
Revenues for the second quarter of the year increased to $9.2m (£5.4m), from $8m (£.4.7m) with profits of $196,000, (£115,000) compared with an operating loss of $463,000 (£273,000) in the second quarter last year.
Boyle added: “The past three months marked Sevcon’s fifth consecutive quarter of sequential revenue growth and our third straight quarter of growth, year-over-year.
“This was a particularly strong quarter for us in Asia, where we posted high double-digit sales growth, year-over-year.
“This growth continued to be driven primarily by aerial work platform and fork lift truck demand in Japan and China. In addition, we are beginning to benefit from our new business initiatives in the on-road sector in Asia, primarily in China.”
Sevcon’s range of motor controllers for electric and hybrid vehicles, which are designed by its skilled engineers in Gateshead, are used to vary the speed and movement of vehicles, to integrate specialized functions and to prolong the shift life of a vehicle’s battery.
Sevcon’s customers are manufacturers of on and off-road vehicles including cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, fork lift trucks, agricultural farm tractors, aerial lifts, mining vehicles, airport tractors, marine vessels, sweepers and other electrically powered vehicles.
Earlier this year Sevcon announced it had signed a new joint-venture agreement with a subsidiary of a Chinese Tier 1 automotive supplier, Risenbo Technology. Operating as Sevcon New Energy Technology, the new joint venture company will source from Sevcon and will market and sell existing and future Sevcon products for on-road electric and hybrid vehicle applications, principally to suppliers in China.