AGM Statement - Trading Update

RNS Number : 0329Z
Spirax-Sarco Engineering PLC
15 May 2019



News Release


Wednesday 15th May 2019


Strong start to the year, despite weakening Industrial Production growth forecasts. Overall expectations unchanged.


Thermal energy management and niche pumping specialist, Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc, issues the following trading update in respect of the period ended 30th April 2019. 


Economic environment

As expected, the global macro-economic environment continues to weaken with the latest forecast for global Industrial Production growth for 2019 being 2.0%, compared to 2.6% at the time of our preliminary announcement and 3.1% in 2018.



Despite the softening macro-economic environment, organic* sales growth for the Group in the first four months of the year remained at similar levels to the second half of 2018.  Growth in Asia Pacific has been particularly strong, aided by large one-off projects and customer requests to pull forward sales ahead of the recent changes to VAT in China.  In EMEA we have seen a modest benefit from customers building buffer stocks ahead of the UK's anticipated exit from the European Union on 29th March, while the Americas saw similar levels of growth to the prior year.  Sales growth in Chromalox, while positive, was lower than the Steam Specialties business, albeit against a robust period of growth in the prior year.  Watson-Marlow had an excellent start to the year helped by healthy growth in its Biopharmaceutical sector.


Sterling exchange rates against the basket of currencies we trade in have remained very close to the average for the prior year, resulting in a negligible impact from foreign exchange in the period.


On an organic basis, Group operating profit is ahead of the comparable four-month period in 2018, with operating margins consistent with our full-year expectations.


Financial position

Our business remains highly cash generative and we maintain a strong balance sheet.  At 30th April 2019 net debt was £203 million.  There has been no material change in the financial position of the Group during the period. 


On 13th May 2019 we announced the completion of the €158 million acquisition of Thermocoax, following the granting of regulatory approvals in France, Germany and the USA.




We have good diversification across market sectors and geographic regions, and remain focused on the rigorous implementation of our strategies for growth.  While, as normal, our short order book provides only limited visibility, the Group's fundamental strengths stand us in good stead to continue to deliver growth that outperforms our markets. 


While organic sales growth in the first four months of the year has been strong, the lowering of forecasts for Industrial Production growth rates for 2019 mean that our overall expectations of organic growth and trading margins for the full-year are unchanged to those set out in our preliminary announcement in March.


If current exchange rates were to prevail for the remainder of the year there would be no material impact of translation or transaction on sales and operating profit for the full year, compared with the full year 2018.  Movements in exchange rates are often volatile and unpredictable, therefore the actual impact could be significantly different.


Provided there is no material deterioration in trading conditions the Board has confidence that the Group will make further progress in 2019.


Spirax-Sarco Engineering plc expects to publish its 2019 half-year results on Wednesday 7th August 2019.




Nicholas Anderson, Group Chief Executive

Kevin Boyd, Chief Financial Officer

Tel:  01242 535234



* References to organic changes exclude acquisitions and disposals, and are expressed at constant currency. References to profit are to adjusted profit that excludes the amortisation and impairment of acquisition-related intangible assets and acquisition and disposal costs, together with the tax effects of these items.


Cautionary statement

This announcement contains certain forward-looking statements with respect to the Group's performance. By their nature, these statements involve uncertainty since future events and circumstances can cause results and developments to differ materially from those anticipated. The forward-looking statements reflect knowledge and information available at the date of preparation of this announcement and subject to applicable law or regulation we undertake no obligation to update these forward-looking statements.


About Spirax Sarco

Spirax‐Sarco Engineering plc is a thermal energy management and niche pumping specialist. It comprises three world‐leading businesses: Steam Specialties, for the control and management of steam; Chromalox, for electrical thermal energy solutions; and Watson-Marlow, for peristaltic pumping and associated fluid path technologies. The Steam Specialties business and Chromalox provide a broad range of fluid control and electrical process heating products, engineered packages, site services and systems expertise for a diverse range of industrial and institutional customers.  Both businesses help their end users to improve production efficiency, meet their environmental sustainability targets, improve product quality and enhance the safety of their operations.  Watson‐Marlow Fluid Technology Group offers the ideal solution for a wide variety of demanding fluid path applications with highly accurate, controllable and virtually maintenance free pumps and associated technologies. 


The Group is headquartered in Cheltenham, UK, has strategically located manufacturing plants around the world and employs over 7,800 people, of whom over 1,600 are direct sales and service engineers.  Its shares have been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1959 (symbol: SPX) and it is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index.


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