Flooring holds back Low & Bonar
Fibre group Low & Bonar saw a mixed performance in the first half of the year, with 'lacklustre' demand in the flooring sector partially offsetting demand in building products.
Its Bonar division, which supplies products such as geosynthetics, carpet tile and automotive carpet backings reported that 'flooring sales, which have grown strongly over the last three years, had a disappointing start to the year. Demand remained subdued in sluggish European markets; however sales in China grew strongly supported by our recently established sales and technical service organisation in Shanghai. In the US, sales suffered from a slow, weather-impacted start to the year, and a decision by a key customer to switch from a single sourcing to a dual sourcing procurement strategy.
'Overall, weaker demand in the Flooring market and the expected adverse mix effect of seeding the Chinese market held back divisional performance in the first half of the year.'
Its yarn division saw sales jump by almost a third. 'Recently launched new [artificial] grass yarns continue to improve our share in a recovering but still highly competitive market. Average selling prices were marginally lower and limited the positive effect from incremental volumes. The business has also followed a more normal production pattern this year which will result in a greater proportion of annual profits falling in the second half compared to last year,' reported the group.