- Thermal energy management and niche pumping specialist Spirax‐Sarco Engineering said a decline in sales in the four months through October was less severe than in the first half of the year.

'Despite the challenging economic environment, trading has continued to hold up well,' the company said in a trading update.

The improving sales picture had been supported by a recovery in global industrial production, which fell 4% in the third quarter, compared to a 12% drop in the second quarter.

'Overall, the rate at which reported sales declined was marginally less than in the first half of the year, when reported sales benefited from the inclusion of Thermocoax which joined the croup in May 2019,' Spirax‐Sarco said.

The company said its operating profit margin was higher in the four months to the end of October than in the first half, supported by increased sales and continued cost containment.

In the 10 months to the end of October, its operating profit margin remained slightly below the same period in the prior year.

Spirax‐Sarco added that currency effects continued to have an adverse impact on sales and operating profit, as sterling maintained its strength against its basket of trade currencies.

The headwind effect on full-year sales and profit would be 2% and 4%, respectively, if spot rates at 31 October prevailed for the remainder of the year.

'Sales and adjusted operating profit in the four months to the end of October were in line with our expectations at the time of our Half Year results,' the company said.

'Therefore, absent a significant global industrial production deterioration in the remaining months of 2020, our overall expectations for the full year remain unchanged.'

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