- Morgan Advanced Materials said it had decided to exit its underperforming composites and defence systems business amid a broader rise in first-quarter sales.

Sales for the three months through March, on an organic constant currency basis, rose 6.5%, as growth in the thermal products and carbon and technical ceramics divisions offset a decline in composites and defence systems.

An exit from the composites and defence systems business would take the form of a divestment of certain products lines, together with a closer of the remaining business lines.

'Discussions with potential acquirers of certain product lines are at a very early stage, and there can be no certainty that any divestments will be made,' the company said.

Costs associated with the exit were expected to around to around £6m, potentially offset by any sale proceeds.

Looking ahead, the company said it didn't expect the sales growth rate achieved in the first quarter to sustained over the course of the entire year, partly because of a weaker comparative quarter last year.

Headline operating margins were expected to be slightly higher, owing to price rises, efficiency savings and volume leverage, partially offset by planned reinvestment in R&D and sales resources, as well as the dilutive impact of divestments completed in 2017.

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