King’s Lynn-based Porvair eyes up new markets after year of record profits

Ben Stocks, chief executive of Porvair Filtration Group. Picture: submitted

Ben Stocks, chief executive of Porvair Filtration Group. Picture: submitted - Credit: Archant

Filtration specialist Porvair has 'plenty in the tank' for the coming year, said its chief executive, as the company announced record pre-tax profits.

The King's Lynn-based firm posted pre-tax profits of £9.2m for the year to November 30 2015, up by 9pc from £8.4m in 2014, though turnover fell to £95.8m from the previous year's £104m.

Chief executive Ben Stocks said that was due to a strong period in 2014 for the EDP Top100 company when several major contracts were signed, but pointed out that underlying revenues had grown by 7pc.

Despite concerns over the slowdown in China, where Porvair has opened a new factory, recent acquisitions and healthy order books had put the business in a strong position entering 2016, he said. 'Over the last two years significant investments have been made in capacity with new production lines being brought into operation,' added Mr Stocks.

'A promising new product development pipeline offers plenty of opportunity for organic growth.

'The two recent acquisitions should start to contribute in 2016. The group is in a strong financial position and a good start has been made to the year.'

Porvair manufactures and supplies filtration and environmental technology to four major areas – aerospace, water, energy and industrial, and molten metals – which it expects to see continuing to grow at a minimum of 5pc a year.

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The company's net cash more than doubled, rising from £5.3m in 2014 to £10.7m last year.

New installations and account wins were tempered by the negative commercial effects of a strong dollar in the US, where nearly half Porvair's products are manufactured.

Recent years have seen seven of its 10 plants upgraded, and the opening of a plant in China, employing 50 people, to service the growing market for aluminium filters, despite the country's growth slowing in the past year.

Mr Stocks admitted the slowdown was a concern, but added: 'It's tough, but it's always been tough.

'Growth is slowing but it's still growing. As long as you have a good story and a good product, there's plenty to go at.'

Porvair acquired TEM Filter Company in December, with which it hopes to make inroads into the microelectronics industry.

Mr Stocks said Porvair would initially be a 'very small player' but was confident of establishing a foothold. 'It's started well. We have the money to invest and the international presence and technical expertise which our competitors do not,' he added.

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