Express & Star

Pre-tax profit up for Castings

Brownhills-based foundries group Castings has seen pre-tax profits rise in its latest half year.

Castings headquarters site on the Lichfield Road in Brownhills

For the six months to the end of September they were up from £7.5 million a year earlier to £10.3m.

Sales were up from £85.6m to £111.3m following growing demand from heavy trucks manufacturers,

After nearly 63 years with Castings, of which 40 had been as chairman, Brian Cooke stood down in August. Before becoming chairman in 1983, he served as managing director at Brownhills and then as group chief executive. The new chairman is Alec Jones.

Heavy trucks makes up about 80 per cent of group revenue, but Castings also seen continued progression in its other growth sectors of wind energy, rail, trailer braking and trailer coupling.

Foundry output during the period was up 1.6 per cent at 25,500 tonnes. Of this 62.1 per cent related to machined castings compared to 57.4 per cent in the previous period.

The high level of demand, both current and forecast, is in excess of current foundry production capacity and in collaboration with customers some production has been outsourced to other foundries for the short term.

As a more strategic and longer-term solution, the board has approved a new foundry production line at its William Lee site in Dronfield, Derbyshire. It is anticipated that the new line will be commissioned within two years, at a cost of around £17 million, to be funded from internal resources, and will add up to 12,000 tonnes of additional gross foundry capacity.

The CNC Speedwell operation reported a profit of £1.9 million compared to a loss of £500,000 in the previous period.

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