Plexus Unveils Record Annual Results - The Herald

Published in The Herald – 24th October 2013

Writer Mark Williamson

 

Engineering firm profited from oil and gas well technology.

Plexus Holdings has posted record annual results after winning a growing following for its oil and gas well technology and said it expected to make further progress.

The Aberdeen based engineering firm made pre-tax profits of £4.3 million for the year to June, up around 40% on the £3.1m achieved in the preceding year, as it cashed in on buoyant activity levels in areas such as the North Sea.

Turnover increased by 30% to £25.6m, from £19.7m.

Noting that oil prices stabilised during the year (at around $100 per barrel) the company’s founder and chief executive Ben van Bilderbeek said the increase in sales was partly attributable to the general improvement in economic conditions.

However, he said the increase also reflected a growing recognition of the benefits the products Plexus designs in Aberdeen could offer to oil and gas firms.

The company has developed technology for wellheads, which top the lengths of casing that line wells.

It believes the POS-GRIP technology can help oil and gas firms cut the costs of operating wells and increase the efficiency and safety of operations. Mr van Bilderbeek said the benefits were particularly relevant for wells operating in the kind of challenging high pressure and high temperature environments in which oil and gas firms are increasing investment in their quest for new finds.

Plexus added Norway’s Lundin and Lotos to its customer base in the year to June, along with Glencore, the Swiss commodities giant. The company also won repeat business from a range of blue chip customers, including Shell, Maersk and Talisman.

Finance director Graham Stevens said the company expected the trend to be maintained in the current year.

He noted Plexus had a very strong market position in the North Sea, where investment was booming.

Revenues earned on the UK continental shelf increased by 5.4% annually in the latest year, to £9.66m.

Asked If the UK Government was providing enough support for the North Sea industry, Mr Stevens said: “I think now there’s a view that the (tax) regime has settled down and the industry seems quite happy with it.”

Plexus sees scope to achieve big increases in sales in overseas markets.

Sales outside Europe represented 34% of the total in the latest year, up from 18%.

Plexus more than doubled sales in Australia, Asia and Africa.

It is developing specialised new products including a subsea wellhead.

The success has helped Plexus create high value jobs in Aberdeen. The company employs 142 people compared with 113 in June 2012.

Directors of the Aim-listed firm recommended a 10% increase in the final dividend to 0.55p per share from 0.5p last time.

Shares in Plexus Holdings closed up 3.5%, 8.75p, at 256p.

Analysts at house broker Cenkos Securities said Plexus Holdings would benefit from growing momentum in the high pressure/high temperature market and related investment across the equipment subsector.