News Column

Oxford Instruments Ups Dividend As Profit Hit By Acquisition Costs

June 10, 2014

Hana Stewart-Smith

LONDON (Alliance News) - Oxford Instruments PLC upped its total dividend for the year to end-March, as pretax profit was hit by costs relating to it acquisition of Andor Technology in January, and revenue continued to be damped by the strengthening of sterling.

The technology tools and systems company proposed Tuesday a total dividend of 12.4 pence, up from 11.2 pence in the previous year.

Oxford Instruments posted a pretax profit of GBP24.0 million, down from a restated GBP28.4 million, as a rise in revenue to GBP360.1 million from GBP350.8 million was offset by GBP23.1 million in exceptional costs relating to acquisitions.

It acquired Andor Technology for GBP158.1 million in January, in addition to its GBP1.6 million acquisition of RoentgenAnalytik Systeme GmbH last December, and RMG Technology for GBP5.7 million last November.

The company posted a GBP14.7 million amortisation and impairment on acquired intangibles, and GBP7.8 million in acquisition costs.

Oxford Instruments' results for the previous year were restated to reflect changes in its accounting policy regarding its defined-benefit pension scheme.

The strengthening of sterling continued to weigh on results, as revenues rose 2.7%, but would have risen 4.3% on a constant currency basis, the company said. US revenues rose 11%, offsetting declines in Asia and Europe. In Asia, performance was hit by continued weakness in the high-brightness light emitting diodes (LED) market, and in Europe government spending was muted.

In the rest of the world, revenues rose 19%, driven by strong performances in South America and Australia.

The company met its target of a 14% return on sales by 2014, as laid out in its "14 Cubed" growth strategy, but was not able to meet its 14% target for compound yearly growth rate, instead reaching 11%.

During the first two months of the recently completed year, the company said it saw weak demand, particularly from government-funded research, although demand gradually improved throughout the course of the year. This improvement has continued into the current financial year, and orders in the first two months are ahead of the recent year, Oxford Instruments said.

Going forward, the company will continue to focus on developing new products and growing its market share in its core areas of physical science. It will also look to expand into new adjacent markets like life science research and analysis, it said.

Oxford Instruments believes this will drive long-term demand for its nanotechnology products, and connect it with new customers. This, combined with a full year contribution from acquisitions, underpins its confidence in continued growth for the current year, despite continuing foreign exchange headwinds.

Oxford Instruments shares are up 1.7% Tuesday at 1,367.00 pence.

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Source: Alliance News

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