Molins’ Tobacco Machinery division sales during the six months to the end of June, at £18.0 million, were increased by 22 percent on those of the six months to the end of June 2012. At the same time, the division’s operating profit increased from £0.8 million to £1.3 million.
In reporting its first-half results, Molins said that sales of new and rebuilt tobacco machines were supported by a strong opening order book, and that while order intake overall was slightly weaker than in the same period last year, current order prospects were relatively strong.
The division is continuing to focus on new product development and improvements in service performance.
Meanwhile, sales by the company’s Scientific Services division, at £11.4 million, were up by 23 percent, while operating profit was £0.1 million, compared with an £0.1 million loss during the first six months of 2012.
The division, with its main facilities in the U.K. and U.S., comprises Arista Laboratories, an independent tobacco and smoke constituent analytical laboratory, and Cerulean, which supplies process and quality-control instruments to the tobacco industry, as well as other instruments and machinery to other industrial sectors.
Molins reported that order intake at Cerulean had been strong in most areas, with the key Chinese market remaining buoyant and its order book being boosted by a large, one-off project for a customer in North Africa.
Order intake at Arista Laboratories was lower than in the same period last year. Although it had been expected that regulatory requirements for the testing and reporting of tobacco product constituents in the U.S. would have been confirmed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the first half of the year, the regulatory framework had not been forthcoming, and the latest indication from the FDA was that guidance would be published in December, Molins said.
At the same time, sales by Molins’ Packaging Machinery division increased by 16 percent to £18.4 million, while operating profit was unchanged at £0.1 million.
“The increase in sales in the first half was supported by a strong opening order book, although margins were reduced as a result of an increase in high-engineering-content projects, with a lower proportion of sales of standardized machines,” Molins reported.
“The group has had a strong first half, with increases in both sales and underlying profit,” said Chief Executive Dick Hunter.
“We have continued our investment across the business, most notably in product development, as well as through the expansion of our Packaging Machinery presence in Asia.
“The order book supports the group’s full-year trading performance being second-half weighted as in previous years.
“The board’s expectation of performance for the full year remains unchanged.”