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Chloride profits rise as orders power upwards

CHLORIDE, which provides protection against power supply disruption, posted a 33 per cent increase in 2008 profit yesterday and said it had made a good start to the current year.<br /><br />Finance director Neil Warner said the group&rsquo;s order book at the end of March, at a record &pound;138m, already covered 40 per cent of the market&rsquo;s estimated sales for the current year.<br /><br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;re seeing strength in areas like oil, gas and energy, that some of our competitors aren&rsquo;t in,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Rival Emerson Electric said last month order trends had worsened in April and offered a gloomy outlook for Europe, while France&rsquo;s Schneider Electric said it expected a 15 per cent drop in sales this year.<br /><br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been able to temper the impact of the downturn with our breadth of market and geographies,&rdquo; Warner said, adding that business outside western Europe now accounted for 43 per cent of group sales, up from just 25 per cent two or three years ago.<br /><br />Analysts highlighted the late cycle nature of Chloride&rsquo;s business and said prices could come under pressure.<br /><br />&ldquo;People do worry that Chloride is late-cycle, but this was a reassuring set of results,&rdquo; said analyst Ian Robertson at Seymour Pierce.