Hull, UK -- Conveyor belting group Fenner plc said in an interim statement that it continues to see "robust performances," in its coal-related businesses, which represent the majority of the group's conveyor belting division.
But tighter customers' budgets, means Fenner is seeing "a temporary slowing of order patterns following the strong demand flows in the early part of the year." Despite this, its order books remain at a level sufficient to give reasonable forward visibility at most operating units.
Fenner said it recently commissioned a new steel cord facility in Western Australia on time and to budget, and added that in North America the UK-headquartered group's recent investment has begun to deliver the planned operational efficiencies.
Fenner's industrial businesses, which include most of the Advanced Engineered Products division and about a third of the conveyor belting division, have been affected by the deterioration in global economic conditions, the group said. But these sectors, where most of Fenner's polyurethane products are sold, show "recent signs of slow improvement," the company commented, pointing out that activity in the medical and wind power markets has held up well.
Fenner has also spent about £5 million ($8.2 million) on cost reduction and reorganisation.
Looking forward, Fenner said its diverse markets, together with its ability to be flexible to meet market conditions, leaves the outlook for the full year towards the lower end of market expectations.
Uncertainty persists, but the group has been "encouraged by signs of improvement" and says it is well positioned, with a significantly reduced cost base, to benefit from a recovery in economic conditions.