The revived Royal Worcester and Spode brands helped pottery firm Portmeirion post an 11 per cent rise in half-year profits.
Shares in Stoke-on-Trent manufacturer Portmeirion jumped more than 13 per cent, to 257.25p, in early trading after directors said they remained confident that the two historic brands would provide a £12 million boost to revenues.
The company, which employs more than 400 people in Stoke, saw revenues for the six months to June 30 rise to £17 million.
Chairman Dick Steele said the addition of the historic fine china names, after a £3.2 million deal with administrators in April, had provided the pottery with a “great opportunity” for growth.
Sales linked to the brands are due to add £7 million this year, with another £12 million across 2010, particularly as a result of the likely popularity of Spode ranges such as the best-selling Christmas Tree pattern.
Portmeirion said the Spode Blue Italian and Woodland patterns were already in production at its Stoke factory, meaning the site is operating at closer to optimal level. Other patterns have been sourced from Far East suppliers.
Royal Worcester & Spode went into administration in November, with administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers blaming the demise on the firm’s failure to sell its Stoke site and the economic downturn.
Royal Worcester has been manufacturing since 1751, while pottery legend Josiah Spode Jr set up his ceramic firm in about 1770 and Mr Steele said that heritage would be a big asset for the future.
Portmeirion said a great deal of work was needed to manufacture and source the Spode and Royal Worcester patterns.
Mr Steele added: “It is a testament to the strength of our technical abilities that so much has been accomplished with these patterns in such a short time.”
He described the company’s overall order book as “extremely healthy”, with strong demand for the Spode and Royal Worcester products accompanied by the continued popularity of the Sophie Conran for Portmeirion range. Mr Steele said: “Buying the Spode and Royal Worcester brands is the most significant event at Portmeirion for many years, giving us the opportunity to grow to be a significantly larger company.”
Portmeirion told investors that pre-tax profits had grown by 85 per cent, to £940,000, before exceptional items were taken into account. It was boosted by a 12.9 per cent rise in UK revenues and a 31.2 per cent jump in sales to Korea.
The company also revealed it had slashed the amount of stock it is holding by more than ten per cent while net cash fell from £794,000 to £575,000.
The board is recommending an unchanged dividend of 3.55p per share.