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Metalrax praises housewares division for 'satisfactory start'

Published: 4 April 2008
Profit improves; plans in place to launch exclusive products.
Metalrax said its housewares division has made a satisfactory start to 2008 in line with expectations.

Company representatives cited the business's good reputation and well-established brands as contributory factors for ongoing success in its markets.

Praise fell on microwave cookware and the Mermaid brand - popular with professional chefs and caterers, but with popularity also growing in the retail market, helped by the endorsement of celebrity chefs.

Other brands widely recognised include LongLife, Progress, RTA, Microwise and the award-winning Popware.

Overall performance for the division, in preliminary results for the year ended December 31, 2007, saw it generate an improved operating profit from £1.3 million to £1.8 million on reduced revenues of £25.7 million (2006: £27.6 million).

"This improvement was driven primarily by the increased focus on more profitable contracts with lower margin/higher volume work being exited where necessary," it said in its statement.

The chairman, JRA Crabtree, also praised management for their foresight in 2007 in opening a sourcing office in mainland China to strengthen its existing Far East operations, and a sales and marketing centre in Hong Kong.

"These have contributed strongly to the Division's ability to develop and secure reliable, high quality, lower cost sources for ranges of products for distribution. Further investment is planned for these facilities, including exclusive new product introductions," he said.

Need

Metalrax believes that as its products are more 'need to have' rather than 'nice to have' it is 'likely to be more resilient' to downturns as consumer spending tightens.

But it put the spotlight on the 'pressures on raw material prices as they represent a potential risk for 2008 in terms of its ability to pass increases on to customers'.

Mr Crabtree added: "Uncertainty surrounding the performance of the UK economy could also affect our customers' retail sales during the year. However, new management has been appointed before and after the year-end and I am confident that they will pursue opportunities to achieve growth from operational and marketing initiatives."

An increased focus will be placed on profitable products and customers, and also the restructuring of its manufacturing and product ranges to improve efficiency.

  • Metalrax announced the appointment of Ian Paling as non-executive director. It completes recent board restructuring that includes the appointments of a new chief executive, Andrew Richardson, and new group finance director, Michael Stock.
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