- Irish rock drilling tool specialist Mincon reported a 4% rise in first-half profit as demand recovered.

Pre-tax profit for the six months through June increased to €8.0 million, as revenue also rose 4%, to €67.0 million.

The company didn't declare any dividends.

Mincon said growth came despite pandemic challenges interrupting production in Shannon at the beginning of the year, as well as increases in transport costs and lead times.

It added that trading and production had continued to strengthen into the second half and that its pipeline and order books remained strong, as additional projects were expected to commence in the second half.

'Our sales growth during the first six months of 2021 reflected a very strong performance from a number of our regions and industries, however this was offset somewhat by the continuing impact of the pandemic in two of our regions,' chief executive Joe Purcell said.

'Our operating margins were impacted due to pandemic issues in our production at the beginning of the year, particularly in Shannon, increased transport costs and start-up costs on a new contract in South America.'

'The group is quickly adapting to some of the challenges presented in the current market.'

'We have experienced significant increases in transit times and costs in relation to sea freight, while raw material availability and prices have also been a challenge.'

'As a result of these issues, we made a conscious decision to increase inventory levels, to ensure that we can continue to supply our customers on time.'

'We are also passing on price increases where we can and that will have a positive result on our margins in the second half.'

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