The Group has again demonstrated its ability to deal with challenging market conditions, including delivery of a continued improvement in the AGI margin. This has been achieved against a background of subdued demand for industrial machinery and a further substantial decline in oil & gas revenues.
Looking ahead, and noting the Group's lack of visibility, we expect growth in our aerospace and automotive markets to continue and the sequential decline in oil & gas activity to have largely abated. Recent demand in general industrial markets has been softer than expected and improvements are not anticipated in the second half. However, if current exchange rates prevail, we expect weakness in overall trading, for the year as a whole, to be offset by the benefit of currency translation.
The Group continues to benefit from the flexibility afforded by the strength of its balance sheet, with minimal leverage and continuing strong cash generation.
We will continue to follow our strategy of investing in areas of robust profit opportunity, notably in Specialist Technologies, and in further enriching the mix towards higher added value services in Classical Heat Treatment.
Group Chief Executive
28 July 2016
Group Finance Director
28 July 2016