- Sports and mobility equipment distributor Tandem said it expected its annual pre-tax profit to be 'well ahead' on-year after it grew revenue by a fifth.

The company, however, also warned of a slow start to the current year, described the coronavirus as a 'significant threat' and revealed that chief executive Steve Grant and chairman Mervyn Keene were both standing down.

Grant would take up the position of chairman from 1 August, while finance director Jim Shears would become CEO.

Revenue for the year through December 2019 was seeing rising 20% to £38.8m, despite a slowing of growth in the second half to about 15%.

Sustained periods of wet weather across many parts of the UK in the late Autumn period and macro uncertainties had hindered progress.

Operating expenses rose around 11% as a result of the growth in revenue and increased marketing costs.

With regards to its pension deficit, Tandem said initial recovery plan illustrations indicated that given, in particular, the mortality experience in the scheme, additional deficit contributions may be required.

On its outlook, the company said 2020 'has started more slowly for the group'.

'Although we sold to national retailers strongly in 2019, we are aware that some of our major customers have carried stock forward into this year which will impact on their ability to re-buy,' it said.

'We are, however, confident that we have secured all of the major wheeled toy licences and have identified new product opportunities with own brands which we continue to develop.' The coronavirus outbreak in China 'appears to be a significant threat,' the company added, while noting that a number of factories have not returned to work after Chinese New Year.

'The restriction on travel imposed by the Chinese authorities is hindering the movement of raw materials and labour throughout China,' Tandem said.

'This has already delayed the production of orders and made it difficult for our QA/QC inspections to take place.'

'Further, the welfare of our staff is paramount and we will not put them at undue risk of infection until we have greater clarity of the situation.'

At 8:53am: [LON:TND] Tandem Group PLC share price was -15p at 190p

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