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Spectris April sales hit by Covid-19 lockdowns

By Frank Prenesti

Date: Friday 22 May 2020

(Sharecast News) - April like-for-like sales at scientific instrument maker Spectris fell 21% as it felt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The company on Friday said North America and the academic research and automotive end markets, had taken the brunt of the hit as lockdowns globally took effect.

Group like-for-like sales fell 12% in the four months to April 30. Disposals reduced sales by 9%, partly offset by a 1% favourable foreign currency exchange movement, resulting in a 20% decrease in reported sales, Spectris said.

"From an end market perspective, like-for-like sales in the period were down more sharply in metals, minerals and mining where investments are being put on hold as demand for metals-based products declines, and academic research, as universities and research institutes closed their doors," the company said in a trading update.

"Machine manufacturing was the only end market to see growth in the period, with good onward demand from process, food and medical markets."

Spectris said Asian like-for-like sales fell 20%, driven by China, although the country rebounded strongly in April as pent up demand translated to revenue.

In Europe and North America sales for the four-month period were 13% and 6% lower, respectively, reflecting the later phasing of the start of the lockdowns in those regions, it added.

The group continued to be highly cash generative, with a cash conversion of more than 150% for the period. At the end of April, Spectris had net cash of £59.9m compared with £33.5m the end of 2019, with a cash balance of £244.2m and gross borrowings of £184.3m.

"The group has £827.5m of committed banking facilities and has access to a number of uncommitted and bank overdraft facilities," Spectris said.

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