Chip maker lowers expectations despite strong broadband results

The Advertiser Series: BUSINESS BOOST:  Alan Needle, Filtronic chief executive, right, with Dr Simon Goon, Business Durham managing director, pictured previously at the company's new Sedgefield base BUSINESS BOOST: Alan Needle, Filtronic chief executive, right, with Dr Simon Goon, Business Durham managing director, pictured previously at the company's new Sedgefield base

A MOBILE phone transmitter maker says a move to a new North-East factory has helped increase revenues as its battles against contract delays.

Filtronic, at Netpark, in Sedgefield, County Durham, revealed its broadband division recorded revenues of £9.7m for the financial year to May 31, compared to £8.1m in 2013.

But the company, which employs about 85 North-East staff and works on chips linking mobile smartphones to networks, said its wireless division has seen projects deferred as operators delay changes.

Bosses said wireless revenues slipped to £23m from £31m for the year to May 31, leading to predicted £500,000 operating losses.

However, they added it is working on twice the number of wireless projects compared to a year ago.

It said: “The board still expects some of the wireless operator projects to deliver revenue in the 2015 financial year, but the timing still remains uncertain.

“The increasing complexity and high levels of data traffic being generated by 4G demand is reshaping the cellular telecoms market.

“The company has continued to address projects from operators, but the number of opportunities has been decreasing and programmes where the firm has developed products have been subject to customer delays resulting in a temporary reduction in wireless.

“Broadband has continued to grow revenues and the re-location to a lower cost facility in Sedgefield, coupled with the combined effects of the lower operating cost base and the improving volumes, enabled broadband to achieve a small underlying profit.”

Earlier this year, Alan Needle, Filtronic chief executive, told The Northern Echo its move to Sedgefield would be crucial to its standing as a growing communications sector company.

He said: “We have a centre of excellence that will be great benefit to all our customers.

“The North-East is an important part of our plans and we have spent a lot of money to develop market-leading technology.

"When our new products come in, we expect them to improve the broadband business.

“People are using more and more data on their smartphones and they need higher capabilities to access that data.”

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