Victrex to resume interim dividends on improved outlook

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Victrex PLC (LON:VCT), a high-spec thermoplastics maker, said it plans to resume paying interim dividends as a result of a gradual improvement in the outlook and its cash position.


A proposed pay out of 13.42p would take dividends back to pre-Coronavirus levels, it said alongside its interim results for the six months to end March 2021. It deferred and finally cancelled its interim dividend for 2020 as it sought to conserve cash.


First-half revenue was steady at GBP150.9mln, versus GBP151.5mln, although Medical revenue dropped 16% as many non-emergency surgeries were cancelled due to COVID-19.


Group sales volume climbed 5% from the year-earlier period to 2,087 tonnes, despite a challenging comparative, mainly due to a 28% jump in volume in Electronics.


“Victrex delivered good volume growth through the first half despite a strong performance in the prior year period, as improving end-markets and our solid and sustainable recovery from the impact of COVID-19 continues,” said chief executive Jakob Sigurdsson.


“We saw record volumes for March and April, despite a softer sales mix, and our order book remains robust.


“Profits were in line with our expectations as mix – reflecting a strong Medical performance last year – inventory unwind and under-recovery of fixed costs, and accrual for the group’s All Employee Bonus scheme offset our performance,” he said.


Underlying pretax profit fell 10% to GBP46.6mln.


“The first half reflects an improving momentum across several end-markets, but also some restocking within supply chains,” said Sigurdsson. “Consequently, our assumptions are that full-year profits will be weighted to the first half.


“Whilst there may yet be upside to our anticipated full-year performance, with the continued impact of post-Brexit inventory unwind on fixed cost recovery, and accrual for our All-Employee-Bonus scheme, at this stage we remain comfortable with current full-year expectations.”


Overall, the company said its financial position remains strong and that it had total cash of GBP79.6mln as of 31 March 2021.

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