Oxford Instruments reports robust trading despite Covid

Oxford Instruments

Oxford Instruments plc, the leading provider of high technology products and systems for industry and research, has reported orders up six per cent to £175.7 in its half year results for the six months to September 30.

It’s order book is also nearly 17 per cent from March, at £204.6 million.

Ian Barkshire, Chief Executive of Oxford Instruments plc, said: “The Group is positioned to be a leading provider of high technology products and services to the world’s leading industrial customers and scientific research communities to image, analyse and manipulate materials down to the atomic and molecular level. This allows us to live up to our purpose of facilitating a greener economy, increased connectivity, improved health and leaps in scientific understanding.

“We have seen strong order growth in the first half of the year with a good improvement in the order book. Orders have grown across our academic and commercial customer base, particularly for our compound semiconductor process solutions and quantum cryogenic and magnet systems.

“Covid-related customer disruption has affected installation and commissioning activities. This, along with the introduction of new covid-safe working practices across our manufacturing sites, has led to a fall in revenue over the first half. Gains from our Horizon strategy and cost control enabled sustained operating margins despite lower revenue.

“The dedication, agility and resilience of our employees during this difficult period underpins our confidence in our ability to service and support the needs of our customers.”

He  added the the company is ajusting to the external and internal effects of the pandemic and expects uncertainty to remain high.

“However, robust trading during the first half, combined with a strong order book, gives us confidence for the second half, absent a material increase in covidrelated disruption that could impact facility or customer site access. We expect full-year performance to be a little behind last year on a constant currency basis, ahead of current analyst forecasts.”

“The transformation of the Group through our Horizon strategy has provided a solid foundation for future growth. Our focus on markets with sustainable long-term growth drivers, our continuous drive for greater efficiencies and our ability to respond to evolving customer needs mean that we remain well positioned to navigate the current challenges and return to long-term sustainable growth and margin improvement.”

Oxford Instruments was the University of Oxford‘s first spin out company. The company was founded in 1959 by Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood  – who later founded The Oxford Trust – and manufactured the super-conducting magnets used in scientific equipment and MRI scanners across the globe.

Starting in the Woods’ garden shed at the back of their house on Northmoor Road, the company had a series of premises around Oxford, from a former abattoir to a boat house.

Oxford Instruments built the first full-sized superconducting magnet for MRI scanning in 1980 – a market that was to expand exponentially. By 1983 the combination of technical innovation and business strategy led to a successful flotation of Oxford Instruments on the London stock market, providing the funds to develop the huge opportunity that lay in producing MRI magnets. The company of two grew to dozens and then hundreds of employees. Sixty years later, Oxford Instruments is an international science and technology business but still has its headquarters in Oxfordshire.