Export growth continues for historic manufacturer

Churchill China

Continuing growth in overseas markets pushed Churchill China’s half-year profits higher with “uncertainty” doing little to dampen its optimistic outlook.

The ceramics manufacturer now generates 63% of its sales from exports, up from 57% a year earlier, which has partly been influenced by an expected reduction in UK sales.

But Churchill China believes its “relatively low” market share outside of the UK provides it plenty of opportunity to grow sales further.

In the six months to June group sales were up 6% to £27.2m, although exports rose 17%.

Pre-tax profits improved by nearly one-quarter to £3.3m, enabling an 18% increase in the company’s interim dividend.

The Stoke-on-Trent company, which dates back to the 18th century, has had a particular focus on Europe in recent years. It said its “positive momentum” on the continent has “delivered further strong growth with good penetration across major markets”.

Chairman Alan McWalter acknowledged there is “a considerable degree of uncertainty” ahead, which the company is preparing for in its planning.

He said: “We believe we have a sustainable, long term business model based on providing exceptional service to hospitality markets worldwide from a differentiated product range meeting high technical performance standards. These markets are characterised by high levels of replacement sales.”

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