Cookson plummets as profits are pulled down by silica arm

City A.M. Reporter
COOKSON Group said yesterday its first-half profit was dragged down by a loss at its fused silica business, and that it expected demand from the steel industry to soften as a result of slowing industrial production, particularly in Europe.

Cookson, which receives about half of its revenue from supplying ceramic products to the steel and foundry casting markets, expects these industries to be weaker in the second half as steel demand takes a hit from weaker economic growth in China and Europe’s protracted debt woes.

“There have been more recent signs of general weakening in the global economy and slowing industrial production, most notably in Europe,” the company said.

Cookson said pre-tax profit for the first half fell to £127.6m, excluding certain items, from £132.1m a year earlier. The fused silica business posted a loss of £5m. Revenue fell four per cent on an underlying basis to £1.3bn.

Cookson also said it expected to update shareholders about its ongoing strategic review before the end of this year.

Shares in Cookson closed down more than 10 per cent yesterday, extending recent losses.