600 on the hunt for deals as manufacturing picks up

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Machine tools maker The 600 Group is on the hunt for acquisitions and expects to announce a deal over the coming months.

The Leeds-based group said a deal is likely to be in North America, where the group has seen a recovery over the past few months.

Chief executive Nigel Rogers said: “We see some good opportunities in laser marking and we expect a deal in the second half. It probably won’t be in the 
UK – our main areas of interest are North America and Europe and North America is looking more interesting in the short term.”

600 is having to battle a sluggish market, but it hopes to boost business through the right acquisition.

The group said that pre-tax profits rose from £1m to £3m in the six months to September 27 after a pension credit of £2m.

Underlying pre-tax profits rose 10 per cent to £670,000 and revenues were flat at £21m.

Mr Rogers said that UK trading has been strong.

“The UK has been the brightest spot in global markets,” he said.

“The UK market was up by four per cent and our UK business was up 30 per cent. Confidence is returning, especially in manufacturing. The banks and the Government have produced an environment much more conducive to investment.”

He added that the US is looking better and Germany “is probably coming out of a difficult period”. However Italy and France are still weak.

600 said revenues would have been £1m higher if sterling had not risen so much against the dollar. However profits were unaffected as adverse translation effects were mitigated by 
cost savings on imports into Europe.

Analyst David Buxton at FinnCap said: “The group delivered satisfactory interim results, in line with expectations, with broadly little change versus last year given the continuing sluggish level of market demand.

“A stronger North American market offset patchy European demand and a currency headwind.

“The North American order book is at a two-year high and supports the view of a second-half weighting to profits.”


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