Spectris warns on profits as markets remain challenging

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The Independent Online

Spectris, which makes specialist electronic instruments and controls, yesterday warned that its 2001 profits would be similar to the £51m recorded a year earlier after tough trading conditions continued into the fourth quarter.

Shares in the company, formerly known as Fairey Group, closed down 8 per cent at 448.5p after it also suggested trading would be flat in the current year compared to 2001.

"The subdued order intake, a traditional feature of the summer months, continued during the fourth quarter as the macroeconomic environment weakened, particularly in the US," the company said.

It also said that a recent restructuring would force it to take an exceptional charge of £5.5m bringing the total exceptional charges for the year to about £14m.

A spokesman refused to comment yesterday on how many staff Spectris had made redundant over the past year. The company employs about 5,300 staff around the world.

"Although current activity levels suggest that the performance will be little changed in 2002 compared to 2001, the company is operationally geared for a possible recovery," it said.

Michael Blogg, an analyst at ING Barings, cut his profit forecasts for the company for 2001, 2002 and 2003. He did, however, maintain his "strong buy" recommendation on the stock.

"We'd expect the second half of 2002 to be significantly better than the first half," he said.

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