GKN tops FTSE as planemakers hike production

 
Suzie Neuwirth
ENGINEERING firm GKN topped the FTSE 100 yesterday after beating forecasts with a five per cent rise in half-year profits to £278m.

The results were boosted by a strong performance from GKN’s aerospace unit, which makes airframes for Airbus and Boeing. The division posted a 37 per cent rise in profit, as plane makers ramped up production to record levels this year.

GKN’s shares climbed around seven per cent in early trading before closing 6.5 per cent higher at 348.5p.

The firm’s automotive business reported 1.4 per cent growth year-on-year, despite a drop-off in demand from Japan and a prolonged slowdown in the weaker economies of Europe.

The land systems unit – which provides products and services for agricultural, construction, mining and industrial machinery – posted a seven per cent decrease in sales due to “challenging end markets” and is expecting lower full-year sales compared to 2012.

“Although some of our end markets remained challenging, we continued to outperform and are reporting good underlying financial results with further benefit from last year’s acquisition, GKN Aerospace Engine Systems (formerly Volvo Aero), which is performing well,” said chief executive Nigel Stein.

“The first half met our expectations and, with planned restructuring costs now behind us, we expect a stronger second half performance.”