Mayfair-based fabrics and wallpapers firm Colefax said half year sales rose by 15 per cent but while it is optimistic about the recovery in the US, UK and Europe, it expects trading to remain challenging for at least the remainder of the year.
The group, whose brands include Colefax, Fowler and Jane Churchill, said pre-tax profit jumped 72% to £3.07m for the six months ended October 31st 2013 from £1.79m a year before, helped by an improved performance from the Decorating Division.
Sales during the six-month period climbed 15% to £39.17m and earnings per share soared 93% to 17.0p
Chairman David Green said: "A significant factor behind the increase in group profits for the first six months was an improved performance from the Decorating Division, partly reflecting timing differences in the completion of projects. In the core Fabric Division sales increased by 7% on a constant currency basis mainly due to the ongoing recovery in the US market and a better than expected improvement in the UK market.
"We are optimistic about the recovery in the US and the UK but, in Europe, we expect trading to remain challenging for at least the remainder of the year."
Net cash rose to £7.58m from £5.59m in 2012.
Colefax said: "The trends that we have seen in the first half of the year have continued into the second half. We are optimistic about the ongoing recovery in the US and the UK and future growth is likely to be closely tied to the strength of the high-end housing market."
In a separate statement Colefax announced a proposed tender offer to buy up to approximately £4.4m of ordinary shares
of 10p each, representing 9% of the company.
The interim dividend has been increased by 5% to 2.00p per share.
Engineering software firm AVEVA said, since its last update in November, the group has continued to perform well amid soft market conditions in Latin America and with good progress in the US and Canada.
The provider of software for major construction projects - from power stations to oil rigs - added that the Asia Pacific region continues to grow at a steady rate, with continued strength in South Korea outweighing the generally weaker economic conditions in China.
Aveva highlighted that trading since October 1st 2013 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa region continues to be hurt by lower than expected revenue growth in Enterprise Solutions, as well as some continued weakness in Russia and the Middle East.
In its last update, the group warned that sales were hurt by the bankruptcy of shipbuilding firm OSX Brasil as well as the cancellation of an important oil and gas contract.
Aveva also suffered currency exchange losses of over £2m because of it exposure to clients in India and China.
"In the first half of the financial year the group's revenue benefitted on a reported basis from sterling weakening against the euro and Korean Won, partially offset by a strengthening against the Japanese Yen.
"However, in the second half sterling has strengthened significantly making a negative foreign exchange
translation impact more likely for the full year," the group said in today's company update.
Aveva said its EDS business, which represents roughly 90% of group revenue, has continued to perform well during the period, with good demand for its design software and a number of strategic contract wins.
Aveva said it maintains a strong balance sheet and continued to see solid cash generation in the third quarter.