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Tech firm enjoys profit leap after strong year.

Byline: Coreena Ford Business writer

GATESHEAD tech firm Petards has posted a 30% leap in pre-tax profits following a strong year across all its markets.

The Team Valley business - which employs more than 100 people - develops, supplies and maintains security and surveillance technologies used by the rail, defence and traffic technology sectors.

The company has now posted full year results for 2017, revealing an order book worth PS18m, total revenues up 2% to PS15.6m and pre-tax profit up 30% to PS1,205,000.

The first half of 2017 provided a strong platform for the full year, after the group secured significant eye-Train orders worth PS7.3m from Stadler Bussnang AG for its FLIRT UK vehicles, and Bombardier Transportation for its new Aventra trains. However, the firm carried out extra work to develop additional hardware and software functionality for the eyeTrain systems, investing more than PS1m into solutions for the future. The scale of the development work was significant and led to some delays, resulting in pre-tax profits from trading operations coming in below expectations.

Adjusted EBITDA for the year was PS1,619,000, down on the previous year's PS1.621m.

With the addition of Stadler, Petards' customer list now includes six of the world's Top 10 train builders and exports have comprised over one third of revenues for a second year running.

Group revenues also increased for the fourth successive year.

As well as a bulging order book, chairman Raschid Abdullah said the firm is also engaged in ongoing discussions for new projects across all areas of its business.

He said: "I am pleased to report that Petards had another good year in 2017 during which the group made a substantial investment in its eyeTrain hardware and software and achieved record pre-tax profits. Year on year total equity was up over 70%, leaving Petards well positioned for its future growth ambitions.

"We are proud of the fact that our customer list now includes six of the world's top ten rolling stock manufacturers. The global rail market continues to offer excellent opportunities and investment in UK rolling stock remains substantial. Having such blue chip companies within Petards customer base positions the group well to continue to win new orders on the back of their success.

"The nature of the group's revenue mix has continued the trend of recent years with its rail related products now accounting for approximately two thirds of group revenues.

"As a result of its success in securing a flow of orders from major train manufacturers and operators, revenues from rail products increased by 15% compared to 2016. The majority of the group's overseas sales also derive from the rail sector with overall group exports representing 34% of 2017 revenues.

"While both rail and traffic products showed revenue growth in 2017, revenues from defence reduced being almost 30% lower than in 2016.

"The reduction arose as 2016 benefitted from the final deliveries on a large MOD electronic countermeasures software upgrade ordered in 2014 and from a PS0.8million MOD order for radio equipment. While the group entered 2018 with a similar overall order book for defence products to that of the prior year, orders scheduled for delivery in 2018 are almost 40% higher than at the same stage last year.

"The board is therefore optimistic that the actions taken over the past 12 months will result in higher revenues from this sector in the current financial year."

We are proud of the fact that our customer list now includes six of the world's top ten rolling stock manufacturers.Raschid Abdullah


The Petards factory in
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 15, 2018
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