Filtronic sees first orders for new plant

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The Independent Online

Filtronic's new Newton Aycliffe manufacturing facility is on the verge of gaining orders that will see it enter volume production next year, the mobile phone infrastructure company said yesterday. "We're closer than ever before to winning a contract for Newton Aycliffe," said John Samuel, the finance director.

Filtronic's new Newton Aycliffe manufacturing facility is on the verge of gaining orders that will see it enter volume production next year, the mobile phone infrastructure company said yesterday. "We're closer than ever before to winning a contract for Newton Aycliffe," said John Samuel, the finance director.

Filtronic said it would invest a total of £40m in the County Durham plant - £5m more than previously anticipated - and it expected to recoup its investment within four years.

The plant is producing samples of components for base-station and mobile handset power amplifiers, a market estimated to be worth about $2bn (£1.25bn). Filtronic said it was also developing 20 products for third-generation mobile phone infrastructure.

The optimism over Newton Aycliffe helped to send Filtronic shares up 37.5p, or 4 per cent, to 885p, reversing earlier falls amid concerns over the timetable for the plant. Professor David Rhodes, executive chairman, said: "The timescale could not be different. We could never have a firm order at this point."

Filtronic bought the plant for £13.5m from Fujitsu of Japan last year. Fujitsu wrote off £314m on the disposal. Filtronic will receive up to £5m in government funding, depending on how many jobs it creates.

The company posted full-year pre-tax losses of £3.9m, down from £12.5m, after a £9.7m charge for start-up costs at Newton Aycliffe. Operating profits fell £6.1m to £18.3m following a first loss in US operations on a market share loss by Motorola, the cellphone maker.

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