Darby Group upbeat in the face of loss

UK Glassmaker Darby Group announced hefty annual losses on 22 March, but said
it was upbeat about the future as it takes advantage of new building regulations that come into play this year. Chairman …

UK Glassmaker Darby Group announced hefty annual losses on 22 March, but said it was upbeat about the future as it takes advantage of new building regulations that come into play this year. Chairman Mark Abrahams said there was considerable uncertainty in the market over the changes to the building regulations, but the company believed it was well placed to benefit. The regulations mean that double-glazed windows will have to meet new thermal insulation requirements. The Scunthorpe company said it was in a good position to meet the new requirements following a three-year investment plan to update equipment at key sites. The comments came as the company announced a pre-tax loss of GBP 1.9 million for the year to 31 December, which compares to a profit of GBP 800,000 the previous year. The loss followed exceptional operating costs of GBP 1.2 million which included a provision against outdated equipment, redundancy and closure costs and asset write-offs. In addition, there was a GBP 700,000 non-operating exceptional item on goodwill relating to closed sites. Following a decision to decentralize the group and hand back power to the management, a number of glazing products regional sites improved sales and profits. But some of the smaller operations struggled and the group closed sites in Norwich, Barking and Wellingborough. The loss-making Basingstoke toughening operation was sold to Pilkington. The remaining glazing products operations increased sales 13%. The processed glass operation improved sales in the first eight months of the year, but was then hit by a reduction in outdoor advertising boards and a slowing demand for street furniture. Sales in the division ended the year down 2%.