- London-based Melrose Industries said it was trading 'in line' with expectations for 2019 as it reported an increase in half-year revenue and reduced its losses year on year.

Revenue climbed to £6,002m in the six months to 30 June 2019, from £2,971m a year earlier, while statutory pre-tax loss improved to £128m from £372m a year earlier.

The company said the three main divisions of GKN, which it had owned for just over a year, were on track to achieve previously announced targets.

GKN Aerospace revenue grew 'strongly' in the period, delivering a significant increase in profit. And although the global automotive sector downturn was affecting the GKN Automotive and GKN Powder Metallurgy businesses, the firm said it was pleased with their performance against the challenging market backdrop.

Looking forward, the company said it remained confident the group would trade in line with its expectations for this year, despite some macro challenges presented by tariffs and the automotive sector downturn.

The Aerospace segment saw a 37% increase in adjusted operating profit, increasing to 34% of the group's adjusted profits, making it the largest division and profit driver in the company. Meanwhile, the Security & Smart Technology sector was challenged by US tariffs and market headwinds.

The company said that many operational improvement programmes and capital investment projects were underway to help improve performance further, noting that 'good progress' was being made on resolving the GKN loss-making contracts.

'These results show the initial fruits of the 'improve' stage of Melrose's ownership of GKN and, with the overall GKN margin increasing positively, we are excited about what is possible. The performance is in line with expectations and leverage is better than expected,' said chairman Justin Dowley.

'We are positive about the prospects for the rest of 2019 and beyond,' he added.

Melrose said it would pay an interim dividend of 1.7p per share, a 10% increase year on year.

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