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Leather and leather goods maker Pittards on May 15 warned that its profit for the first half of the year will be lower than the first half of last year as it continues to be hit by dollar weakness, but it said orders are picking up and it expects a stronger result in the second half as raw material prices for skins settle.
Pittards Chairman Stephen Boyd said the company's order book has increased in recent months in all parts of its business and it therefore expects sales volumes to steadily improve as the year wears on.
Boyd said raw material prices for skins have settled at a slightly better level than in 2013, though hide prices still remain firm. It is therefore expecting a stronger second half result. "We are taking all appropriate measures to control costs and mitigate the dollar impact," Boyd said.
"We remain committed to our strategy to increase our activities offshore and increase the proportion of finished product manufacture as we believe that long term this will reduce our dollar dependency," he added.
Pittards made an operating profit before finance costs of £1.1 million ($1.8 million) in the first half of 2013, up from £0.1 million ($0.16 million) a year earlier, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose to £1.5 million ($2.5 million), from £0.5 million ($0.84 million).
Operating profit before finance costs was £2.0 million ($3.4 million) for the whole of 2013, up from £0.6 million ($1.0 million) in 2012. When it put out its 2013 results, it said dollar weakness in the final quarter of the year had hit its revenue and balance sheet. When it put out the full year results in March, it had said it was concerned about the dollar's weakness and would seek to mitigate it wherever possible.
Pittards shares were down 11.6% at 153p on May 15.