Score Group treads water as bottom line takes a hit

SUBSEA engineering specialist Score Group kept its head above water last year, despite a 30 per cent plunge in profits after the global recession brought "difficult conditions" to its markets.

Accounts filed at Companies House show that pre-tax profits fell to 6.4 million in the year to 30 September from 9.1m in the previous 12 months.

Turnover at the group - which provides valve and gas turbine engineering across a wide-range of sectors including marine, military and subsea - edged down by 9.3 per cent to 119.6m.

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Writing in the directors' report, chairman Charles Ritchie said: "We have seen a recession in many parts of our business during the past year.

"These difficult conditions continue and show no signs of abating. This will prolong the impact on all aspects of our business this year."

Ritchie highlighted the growth in the company's overseas businesses, which now account for 44 per cent of revenue.

Score opened offices in Nova Scotia, Paris and the United Arab Emirates over the course of the year, along with a base in Brisbane to cater for the growing coal-bed methane gas industry.

The group's overall headcount rose from 1,249 in 2009 to 1,346 in 2010, with Ritchie highlighting that the company had 300 apprentices on its "world- renowned" training programme.

He added: "All this comes at a time when we are experiencing major changes in the global market. We could, of course, cut and run from this training commitment to our people, wherever in the world they are employed.

"This, whilst it would bring immediate financial benefit to our accounts, is not we believe in the best interests of the group."