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Judges ScientificPLC - Trading Update and Notice of Interim Results

RNS Number : 5460T
Judges Scientific PLC
21 July 2020
 

Judges Scientific Plc

("Judges Scientific" or "the Group")

Half Year Trading Update and Notice of Interim Results

The Directors of Judges Scientific (AIM: JDG), the group focused on acquiring and developing companies in the scientific instrument sector, provide the following update regarding the Group's trading performance for the six-month period ended 30 June 2020.

Heath Scientific was acquired on 29 May 2020 and references to "Organic" information in this update exclude any contribution from Heath Scientific and from Moorfield Nanotechnology, which was acquired in December 2019.

Order intake 

The main adverse impact of COVID-19 has been, and continues to be, on order intake. Across the Group, Organic order intake for the 6 months to 30 June was down 17.3% compared to the same period in 2019, caused by the closure of universities, the cancellation of scientific conferences and our inability to travel. This reduction in order intake has not been evenly spread across our key geographies with the UK decreasing 5%, China/Hong Kong and the Rest of Europe each down 7%; North America down 32% and the Rest of the World down 24%. Order intake also varied considerably from business to business. In May, Organic order intake recovered, to an extent, from the trough of April and then progressed slowly in June.

Order book

The Organic order book, as at 30 June 2020, was still satisfactory and represented 10.8 weeks of budgeted revenue against 13.2 weeks at 30 June 2019 and 31 December 2019. The total order book, including Heath Scientific and Moorfield Nanotechnology, stood at 12.4 weeks.

Sales

Organic sales in the first half were down by 12% compared to H1 2019. This was largely due to the decline in order intake but also due to some customers delaying deliveries and to the impact of the travelling ban on installations. The decline in sales was mitigated by the solid order book available at the beginning of 2020 and the compression of that order book during the first half.

First Half Performance

The Group has operated profitably in each of the first six months of this year and generated positive operating cash-flow for the period. As a result, the Group has maintained a robust balance sheet with solid liquidity.

Operational Update

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the main priority for the Group has been to ensure the safety of our colleagues through adherence to the UK government's rules and guidelines around social distancing and hygiene, and approximately half of our staff continue to work from home. Our businesses, due to the Group's decentralised structure, have been able to put in place highly tailored and specific solutions to allow manufacturing to continue throughout the crisis. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of our colleagues at all levels, none of our employees have been seriously ill and none of our facilities have been contaminated.

The Group has only suffered minor supply chain issues, all of which have been mitigated and managed accordingly. Customer closures have resulted in a minority of deliveries being postponed and some installations have still to be performed.

Management actions taken to mitigate the impact of COVID-19

As announced in our AGM update on 20 May, the Board of Judges has taken steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 including utilising the UK Government's furlough scheme, implementing cuts in remuneration, which were matched by the Board, and repurposing a portion of our acquisition facility for working capital purposes.  These actions remain in place, with a small reduction in the number of staff furloughed from 20% to 17%.

Outlook

The COVID-19 crisis has created significant and open-ended global uncertainty, with an associated impact on economic activity. Although there are encouraging signs, it remains to be seen where and when demand, deliveries and installations will return to normal levels, as each jurisdiction in which the Group operates is working independently according to that country's needs. Notwithstanding this, the Board continues to believe that the Group is in a robust position to weather the impact of the pandemic.

Notice of Results

The Company intends to announce its interim results for the six months to 30 June 2020 on 22 September 2020.  

 

For further information please contact:

Judges Scientific

 

 

David Cicurel, CEO

Brad Ormsby, Group FD

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3829 6970

 

 

Shore Capital (Nominated Adviser & Joint Broker)

 

Stephane Auton

Edward Mansfield

Sarah Mather

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7408 4090

 

 

Liberum (Joint Broker)

 

Bidhi Bhoma

Euan Brown


 

 

 

Tel:  +44 (0) 20 3100 2222

 

Media enquiries:

Alma PR (Financial Public Relations)

 

Rebecca Sanders-Hewett

Sam Modlin

 

Tel: +44 (0) 20 3405 0205

[email protected]

 

Notes to editors:

Judges Scientific plc (AIM: JDG), is a group focused on acquiring and developing companies in the scientific instrument sector.  The Group consists of 18 businesses acquired since it was re-admitted to AIM in 2005.

The acquired companies are primarily UK-based with products sold worldwide to a diverse range of markets including: higher education institutions, the scientific communities, manufacturers and regulatory authorities.  The UK is a recognised centre of excellence for scientific instruments.  The Group companies hold five Queen's Awards for innovation and export. 

The Group's companies predominantly operate in global niche markets, with long term growth fundamentals and resilient margins.

Judges Scientific maintains a policy of selectively acquiring businesses that generate sustainable profits and cash.  Shareholder returns are created through the repayment of debt, organic growth and dividends. 

For further information, please visit www.judges.uk.com

 

 


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