Hampson warns on 2010 as orders slow

City A.M. Reporter
BRITISH aero engineer Hampson yesterday said its full-year profit would fall short of market expectations due to a slowdown in orders at its aircraft tooling unit, sending its shares to a seven-year low.

“Our largest tooling business has been impacted by order delays across a number of aircraft programmes,” Howard Kimberley, Hampson’s finance director said after the company said full-year pre-tax profit would fall “materially below current market estimates”.

“The [new] Lear [jet 85 aircraft] is one of those programmes and the Boeing 787 [Dreamliner] has been somewhat delayed, which has hit Boeing’s sub contractors, each of which have a relationship with our facility,” added Kimberley.

Shares in Hampson plunged by up to 61 per cent, their lowest level since March 2003, valuing the group at around £75m, before closing at 21.25p.

Before yesterday’s announcement, Hampson was expected to report pre-tax profit of between £21.7m and £28m for the year to the end of March 2011, with the consensus at £24.3m.

The company said in June that the rate of recovery at its tooling business, which supplies the defence, commercial aerospace and space industries, had been slower than it had anticipated.

“The delays experienced by the tooling business on new aircraft programmes have continued and the group is missing the large contribution to overheads that this business should produce,” said Arbuthnot analyst Michael Blogg, who cut Hampson’s full-year pre-tax profit target to £15m from £25m after its profit warning.

Hampson said delays in the receipt of engineering data from certain customers had further impacted activity levels at its US tooling facility.