FTSE 250 engineering solutions provider Senior rallied on Monday as its full-year profit came in ahead of expectations and sales exceeded £1bn for the first time.
In the year to the end of December 2017, adjusted pre-tax profit fell to £73.1m from £75.3m the year before, but this was ahead of analysts' expectations of £72m. Meanwhile, revenue rose to just over £1bn from £917m and adjusted earnings per share were little changed at 14.39p from 14.37p.
The final dividend came in at 4.90p per share, bringing the dividend for the year to 6.95p, up 5.8%.
Revenue in the aerospace division, which represents 71% of group revenue, was up 4.3% to £725.3m, while adjusted operating profit slipped 2.3% to £76.6m. In the Flexonics business, which represents 29% of group revenue, revenue was 12% higher at £298.8m and adjusted operating profit was down 10% to £20m.
Chief executive David Squires said: "Senior delivered a solid performance in 2017 with trading slightly ahead of expectations. As anticipated, conditions in some of our markets remained challenging, particularly during the first half of the year, so it was pleasing to see market conditions and performance improving, as expected, in the second half of the year.
"We had strong order intake, with a book to bill of 1.15x, and sales reached an all-time high. Free cash flow remains healthy and, as anticipated, margin improvements were delivered in the second half of the year as volumes increased and benefits from ongoing cost reduction efforts were realised."
The company said 2018 trading has started in line with expectations, with order books across most of its businesses strong.
"Looking further ahead, Senior is competitively positioned. We expect to continue to make good progress as more new programmes and products enter production, and as the benefits of the implementation of the high performance Senior Operating System and cost saving actions continue to be delivered," said Squires.
At 1000 GMT, the shares
were up 3.4% to 294.60p.