600 Group PLC
5 September 2001
5 September 2001
THE 600 GROUP PLC
CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT TO THE 2001 AGM
As anticipated in the preliminary results announcement in June, the current
economic global uncertainties are having a significant adverse impact on the
levels of capital investment throughout the industrialised world.
However, our broad product range and continuing efforts to increase market
share have enabled us to outperform the market but we have experienced a
modest year-on-year reduction in orders and sales in the first four months of
Although there are signs that our markets may have bottomed out, we do not
expect any significant general recovery for some time. However, some
businesses are beginning to see increased pre-sale activity, especially from
In these difficult market conditions, we continue to pay particular attention
to our cost base and numbers employed have been reduced by a further 7% since
the beginning of the year.
Other significant events since the beginning of the year include:-
- the acquisition of the bearings business of Gamet Precision SA in
France to strengthen our competitive position in the specialist
bearing market. Sales into continental Europe this year already
exceed the total for last year.
- the development of new partnerships for international procurement
and distribution that will deliver significant benefits during the
second half of the year
- the completion of extensive product development programmes at our
lathes and laser companies, with many new models due to be launched at
major international exhibitions during the second half of the year
- the passing of resolutions for the cancellation and repayment of the
preference shares at the EGM held on 8 August
We continue to maintain a strong cash position despite the difficult trading
conditions and I believe all these initiatives continue to provide a good
foundation for the enhancement of shareholder value.