Reduced losses at Optare

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CEO PG Nilsson expects its new double-decker to be one of the upcoming products which drives Optare into profitability
CEO PG Nilsson expects its new double-decker to be one of the upcoming products which drives Optare into profitability

Optare preliminary results for the 12 months ending March 31, 2013 show a net loss of £7.4m compared to a loss of £13.4m in the previous 15 month period – an improvement of 45% says the company.

This year’s figure includes exceptional costs of £1.8m primarily relating to further Blackburn site closure costs and redundancy programme to deliver operational efficiencies. A headcount of 531 in April 2012 has been reduced to 376.

Turnover increased from £71.9m to £75.9m, up 6% compared to the previous 15 months. Labour costs were 7.6% of revenue, a reduction of 6% compared to 13.6% during the previous period. Loss per share has reduced from 1.4p to 0.3p.

Optare launched three new products, the 11.7m Versa, Metrocity and Bonito. It sold 389 single-deckers, a slight a decrease over the previous 15 months. It also exported 177 Solo kits to Cape Town.

The company says that it ended the year with a 8-13-tonne GVW sector share of 36%, its primary market. On March 31 the order book stood at £12.2m. It currently stands at £20.2m.

In his interim Chief Executive’s statement, PG Nilsson said: “With the consolidation of site and turnaround behind us, it is time for the company to deliver profitability. This will be driven by the product pipeline including the doubledecker and other new products for the export market in 2014.

“The Board anticipates that the UK market will be flat in the near future, but growing opportunities exist in the Middle East, South East Asia and African countries. There are number of contracts which Optare is participating in overseas markets and we are awaiting outcomes that, if positive, could in the Board’s view, significantly change the outlook of the business. We are confident our quality, unique design and life cycle cost will enable us to win some major tenders in the international market.”