- Industrial equipment supplier HC Slingsby swung to a full-year profit but scrapped its dividend amid a slide in sales in the new year due to Covid-19.

Pre-tax profit for the year through December 2019 amounted to £2.9m, compared to losses of £0.6m on-year.

Revenue edged back to £19.6m, from £19.8m.

HC Slingsby said it had already intended not to declare a final dividend, due to a recent agreement reached about its pension liabilities.

'However, regardless of this agreement, due to the reduced pre-exceptional profit performance and the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, the board would not have recommended a payment be made,' it added.

Sales in the first quarter of 2020 had slipped 4% on-year.

'The coronavirus pandemic had an adverse effect on sales at ESE but this was almost offset by increased sales of certain of the group's products that saw increased demand due to the coronavirus.'

'An improvement in the group's overall margin and lower overheads led to operating profit being higher than in the prior year.'

'The market remains competitive and we are cautious regarding the outlook.'

'This is particularly the case due to significant uncertainty created by the coronavirus.'

'We are seeing large falls in demand from customers in certain adversely affected sectors and order concentration on a limited number of product lines and from a smaller number of customers.'

'It is unclear as to the impact that the virus will have on demand going forward.'

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