LONDON (Thomson Financial) - Model train and Scalextric maker Hornby PLC said its UK sales recovered in the second half to help it notch up a 2.4 pct rise in annual operating profit before amortisation to 8.3 mln stg.
Hornby said first half sales were below the previous year, but it was able to recover more than that shortfall in the second six months, which it said demonstrated 'again the robust nature of the hobbyist market.'
Chief executive Frank Martin said in a statement that sales in the UK, the firm's biggest market, grew by 3 pct and total group sales lifted by 6 pct due to the 'continuing increase in momentum' of its international subsidiaries.
'Our international operations are now beginning to show their true potential and we are confident they will continue to deliver encouraging progress in the future,' Martin said.
Hornby said its acquisition of Humbrol and Airfix had added 'new and complementary high margin business' to the group and their integration was in line with plans.
It said the effect on group profits of the acquisition was broadly neutral in the year just ended.
'However, going forward, as we continue to rebuild sales and distribution of these famous brands through the Hornby infrastructure, we expect them to make a significant contribution to group sales and profits,' he said.
Hornby said its Scalextric and Hornby digital control systems had been extremely well received and enjoyed a strong Christmas season.
Pretax profits lifted slightly to 8.1 mln stg from 8 mln beforehand on a 6 pct rise in turnover to 46.9 mln stg.
The company proposed a final dividend of 5.6 pence, resulting in a 5.2 pct rise in the total dividend for the year to 8.1 p against 7.7 p last time.
'We have continued to broaden Hornbys revenue base,' Martin said. 'In terms both of geographical coverage and sector exposure, we have become a significant force in the worldwide hobby market. We will continue to explore opportunities to develop the group further.'