Hardide optimistic for long term, despite short term Covid-19 delays to orders


Bicester-based Hardide plc, the developer of advanced surface coating technology which won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise earlier this year, and which announced record revenues for its first half to 31 March 2020, has now warned of a slowing of previously-robust customer demand.

The company expects to report revenue for the current financial year of not less than £4.7 million.

Hardide’s order book has been particularly impacted by the delay to a large order from a major oil well operator which, due to international travel restrictions, has rescheduled the development of a major project to 2021. This has been compounded by a marked slowing in orders from the company’s customers elsewhere in the oil and gas sector together with other similar, smaller, order delays.

But the company said that despite the recent delay in customer demand, it has been very encouraging to see the high number of new oil and gas applications that are in current evaluation and test programmes. This is indicative of new business potential in the coming months.

The work with Airbus and its Tier 1 supply chain continues to progress well, with further orders received for A380 components. Meanwhile, additional components for Airbus have been approved for production and further parts are currently in their testing phase. Work on components for the higher volume A330 and A320 aircraft is rapidly nearing a conclusion, with Airbus finalising drawings specifying Hardide’s coating on these parts before their issue to the supply chain. Regular orders are also being received for the Lockheed Martin F35 Joint Strike Fighter components.

Hardide’s move to new premises in Bicester is on schedule and on budget, with three reactors and all other processing equipment now fully operational. The aerospace-approved reactor is now the only one left in operation at the town’s Wedgwood Road. Commissioning of the new large reactor will take place once the manufacturer’s engineers are able to travel from Europe, which Hardide says it hopes will be in the coming months. Airbus’ approval of the new reactors and the new site’s processes is expected to be complete by early 2021, as planned.