Avon Protection Achieves Stronger Second Half as Demand for Military-Grade Helmets
- Avon said its order book at the end of September had increased more than 10% from last year.
- Backorders for Avon’s next-generation ballistic helmets hit $59 million
- The company noted that revenue was “significantly higher” than the previous six months.
Protective equipment maker Avon Protection achieved stronger trading in the second half of the last financial year.
The Wiltshire-based company, which supplied gas masks during the Second World War, revealed that its order book at the end of September had increased by more than 10 per cent on the previous year.
While demand for respiratory products has fallen, this has been offset by stronger orders for military-grade helmets.
Healthy demand: Protective equipment manufacturer Avon Protection revealed that its order book at the end of September had increased more than 10 percent from a year earlier.
Avon’s backlog of next-generation ballistic helmets stood at $59m (£48.3m), having recently received a $38m deal from the US Army.
At the same time, orders for its advanced combat helmet rose to more than $20 million following a delivery order worth at least $7 million granted by the US Department of Defense.
Thanks to good order volumes, the group noted that revenue was “significantly above” the previous six-month figure of $116.2 million, which was below forecasts due to weak demand from the Department of Defense and the lower sales of respiratory products.
The turnover was supported by the acceleration of Avon’s ballistic helmet program, a significant mask order and sales of its new EPIC helmets, with more than 5,500 ordered and 3,200 shipped.
Avon decided to exit its loss-making armor segment two years ago after regulatory testing found the company’s vests were not bulletproof, causing delays in product approvals and the release of its annual results.
It said all outstanding armor-related items had been delivered to customers and it expects the division to be classified as discontinued by fiscal 2023.
“This means we now have a more profitable, focused business and a stronger platform for future growth,” Avon told investors.
The company also said the move would help reduce its net debt to twice the level of underlying earnings from 2.6 times.
Jos Sclater, chief executive of Avon, said: “We are now seeing more reliable financial performance as a result of our actions to strengthen the business by increasing accountability and improving operations and program management.”
“In particular, we have demonstrated our ability to deliver helmets to the Department of Defense, which is reflected in a stronger order book.”
The company, formerly Avon Rubber, began in 1885 as a tire manufacturer and has since made gas masks, cow milking machines, animal leg and neck tags, and thermal imaging cameras, as well as protective equipment for the military and United States law enforcement agencies.
Avon Protective Actions They rose 2.8 per cent to £6.88 on Friday morning, but are still down around 35 per cent this year.