Xaar shares up following trading update

By Hannah Jordan, Wednesday 13 July 2016

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Xaar has reported that its half-year sales are in line with expectations as the inkjet developer pushes ahead with its strategy to more than double annual sales by 2020.

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Xaar: First half trading inline with expectations

In a first-half trading update, the Cambridge-based manufacturer said total revenue for the six months to 30 June would reach £44m (2015 H1: £47.8m, 2015 H2 £45.7m).

Sales by application were consistent with the second half of 2015, after allowing for an anticipated dip in sales on its ceramic tile business over the Chinese New Year. The figures were in line with the board’s expectations, the company said.

Xaar's chief financial officer Alex Bevis said: "We've had a really busy first half, a really successful Drupa and a lot going on internally, so it's really nice to have a trading statement which is in line with our expectations.

"A lot of companies have some big challenges and are reporting bad news so we are happy with this. It's steady as she goes, really."

The announcement follows the news at the beginning of the month of Xaar’s first ever acquisition, following a deal to take over $14m-turnover (£10.5m), US-based direct-to-product printing specialist Engineered Printing Solutions (EPS).  

The deal with EPS, to which Xaar is the primary supplier of inkjet heads, is for an initial payment of $11m with a deferred payment of $7.5m dependant on sales and profit performance over the next three years.

"We did a lot of work before the acquisition in terms of planning and integration and we are going to help it grow as much as possible, which we are confident we can do. We aren't going to turn it into Xaar, it's going to be a successful business in its own right."

Bevis said Xaar would continue to be on the lookout for interesting companies, potentially in different markets.

"There could be some consolidation opportunities within the product printing space that we have just entered with EPS but there are opportunities elsewhere that we are also considering. Globally we are looking at a couple of things in Europe and the other big market for us is China," he added.

The firm’s net cash position on 30 June, before the EPS acquisition was completed on 1 July, was £69m (31 December 2015: £70m).

The company recently announced it was targeting ambitious growth plans to more than double annual turnover to £220m by 2020, with sales of at least £50m expected from each of its ceramic tile decoration, packaging, textiles and wide-format and 3D printing segments. 

The group will announce its interim results for 2016 on 24 August.

Xaar’s share price rose by 26.7p to 490p in early trading today (52-week high: 563.5p, low: 409.7p)

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