Fylde coast plastics manufacturer Victrex has announced a seven per cent rise in pre-tax profits.
The half-year figures come as the Thornton company’s chairman Anita Frew said she is to stand down.
She has served on the company’s board for 14 years, including six as chairman, and will be succeeded by non- executive director Larry Pentz.
The company has two divisions, Victrex Polymer Solutions and Invibio Biomaterials, and makes plastic polymers for the aerospace industry, smartphones, cars, and medical devices.
Speaking about the results, which also saw revenues rise by 13 per cent to £120m, pre-tax profits hit £48.9m and sales volumes increased by 14 per cent to 1,584 tonnes, she said: “Victrex saw continued growth momentum during the first half of 2014, principally reflecting a very strong second quarter.
“Our cash generation remains healthy, despite the significant capital investment this year to expand our manufacturing capacity.”
This includes the £90m investment in a new PEEK plastic powder plant at Thornton, which should be open in 2015, and which will allow the company to win potential new business opportunities, principally in the short lifecycle electronics market.
She added: “I’m delighted that Larry has accepted the Board’s invitation to succeed me as chairman of Victrex.
“He brings invaluable and relevant industry experience, and a deep knowledge of the sector and Victrex’s strategic markets.
“It has been an honour to chair Victrex, one of Britain’s great industrial manufacturing companies and a true export champion.”
Larry Pentz said: “We will certainly miss Anita’s leadership as chairman of Victrex and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to succeed her and build on her work.
“Anita’s contribution to the company over 14 years, particularly the last six years as chairman, has been invaluable and we wish her well.”
On the back of the results, the Group is proposing an increase of 10 per cent in the interim dividend to 11.39p.