Shares in Ricardo jumped 81/2p yesterday to 275p after the motor industry consultant put out a confident trading statement ahead of final results for its year to June.
It reported a "particularly strong" second half-year in the UK with increasing demand for transmission projects, coupled with a developing relationships with Asian clients, notably with the Chinese SAIC group, where Ricardo's Leamington Spa office has a leading role.
"Overall trading for the second half has been in line with our expectations, with improving performances in both Germany and the UK," Ricardo stated.
"Whilst the automotive market continues to be challenging in Europe and North America, we are seeing an increasing number of opportunities from Asia, particularly China and Japan.
"Our order book has increased from £67 million at the half-year to over £70 million with a good balance across all of our engineering consultancy divisions."
In Germany, continuing investments in high-quality engineering staff and state of the art facilities are now bearing fruit, Ricardo added.
"We have secured long-term contracts to fill our new test beds and have secured the largest ever orders for our Germany engineering business from three major German original equipment manufacturers.
"On the niche exhaust business, following a difficult year of start-up delays, we have now commenced production of a multi-year high-profile programme."
In North America, where Ricardo is developing the truck and military markets - to depend less on passenger cars - its order book has improved significantly.
"Overall 2006 has been a year of improved profitability, margins and cash generation. We are confident of prospects for the new year."