Profits rise to £15.6m at Belfast parts firm Montupet
Profits at French car part manufacturer Montupet in Belfast rose to £15.6m last year as recovery in the European market stepped up a gear.
Despite a slight fall in turnover, pre-tax profit climbed by £1.4m to £15.6m in the year ending December 31, 2014 at Montupet (UK) Ltd in Dunmurry.
Sales in the year were £88.1m, down from £93.9m in 2013.
But that was still a much better performance than the year before, when turnover was £70.7m - and the company said a revving-up in the car sales market was helping its profits recover.
Employment at is Dunmurry base was also up slightly to 585.
However, its number of operators fell by 12 to 335, although manager numbers increased by 11 and technicians by four.
The company makes aluminium engine components for sale to manufacturers around Europe.
In a strategic report accompanying the results, the firm said: "The directors consider the company's financial position to be pleasing, with an increase in operating profit in the year.
"The company will continue to invest in people, product development and facilities in order to ensure its ongoing development, and it will continue to seek every opportunity to increase profitable turnover."
The report said markets were returning to health. "The automotive sector in which the company operates experienced significant recovery over the last few years, resulting in a return to profitability," it said.
"Latest forecasts for the following 12 months point to demand for the company's products increasing steadily, with existing demand augmented by new product introductions as a result of substantial investment in production capacity."
Earlier this year, the firm announced two orders totalling £140m to produce cylinder heads for car engines.
The new cylinder head will be supplied to an engine plant in eastern Europe.
It will go into full production in 2018 - but the company did not reveal the name of the firm behind the latest deal.
The new orders were announced after Montupet revealed that it was investing a further £8.2m in its Dunmurry factory to meet its additional production needs.
The company has been based in Dunmurry for 25 years. It produces cylinder heads for General Motors, Ford, as well as Peugeot and Citroen.
It currently delivers its products to engine plants in the UK, France, Turkey, Romania, South Africa and China.