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The price of shares in FTSE 250 precision instruments specialist Spectris (LON:SXS) climbed 6.32% to 2,909p (as of 15:25 GMT) as statutory pre-tax profits improved by 18.9% during the year ended 31st December. Sales were up by 1.7% for the period.
CEO Andrew Heath commented: “2019 saw demonstrable progress in executing our Strategy for Profitable Growth. The successful delivery of our profit improvement programme, combined with an increased emphasis on deploying the Spectris Business System, enabled us to deliver increased profit and operating margin expansion, against a weakening macroeconomic backdrop. Cashflow improved significantly in the year and we successfully completed the sale of BTG and announced the sale of the EMS Brüel & Kjær joint venture. Additionally, we have announced a special dividend of £175 million, in line with our capital allocation policy. 2019 has been a year of delivery upon which to build in 2020. We are intent on further improving our operating margin, to at least previous highs, and enhancing capital returns, as we continue to work on asset optimisation and managing the portfolio.
“Absent a material impact from coronavirus, for 2020, we anticipate that markets will remain challenging in the first half with a recovery only currently forecasted to emerge later in the year. We expect limited top-line growth and will, therefore, continue to concentrate on self-help initiatives to drive further cost-efficiency and ensure a more resilient and profitable business.
“The combination of focusing on our customers, driving operating leverage and the repositioning and simplification of our portfolio, alongside a refreshed capital allocation framework, form the basis for delivering a significant and sustainable increase in shareholder value“.