Technology firm Zytronic said it is on course to improve its financial performance next year despite posting a 55% drop in pre-tax profits to £1.9m for the year to September 30.
The Gateshead firm, which makes touch screen sensors used in equipment for cashpoints, gaming and vending machines and household appliances at its factories in Blaydon, said it was disappointed with its results which saw sales drop £17.2m from £20.4m.
However, the firm said the full-year figures had been impacted by a difficult first six months, a trend it reversed in the second half of the year as large orders came to fruition.
Chairman Tudor Davies said: “Following a particularly difficult first half, the performance after five years of continuing growth, was disappointing.
“The main reason for the significant decline in the first half, compared with the equivalent period last year, was the absence of some large one-off orders and projects of approximately £2m of revenues.
“The first two months of the current financial year have seen a continuation of the improved margins and order intake experienced in the second half last year, and as long as the benefits from the trend towards touch sensor products continue, performance should improve this year.”
As previously reported by The Journal, the company said management took decisive action once it became clear that sales were unlikely to meet initial forecasts.
Temporary contracts weren’t renewed, working hours were reduced and a small number of lay-offs were made.
By the end of the September, however, as work picked up, the firm was able to bring all those who had been laid off back into the company, swelling the workforce slightly from 178 to 182.
The second half of the year saw growth in several areas, including sale of a sensor to the Bosch Siemens group, used on one of its induction cooktop designs, which grew as the brand expanded.
Davies said: “Other significant unit growth has come through the industrial in-vehicle telematics system markets, particularly in the agricultural sector.
“One of our leading Australian customers expanded its product offering and as a consequence we experienced an increase in sales to 10,000 units, up from 3,000 in 2012.”
Chief executive Mark Cambridge added: “We are showing strength with projects, strength in the number of customers we have and are looking to work with.
“Everything that we planned for 2013 has been worked on, and that gives us a belief that we can anticipate improved performance.”