Quitting lower margin businesses has helped industrial fastener maker Trifast to boost its first half profits.
The company overcame an "increasingly competitive global environment" and rising raw materials, energy and transport costs to improve its performance in the six months to September 30.
Although revenue fell from £67.81 million to £62.07 million, pretax profits rose from £3.38 million to £4.46 million. Chief executive Steve Auld said: "During the first half of the financial year the company delivered profits in line with market expectations.
"This is especially pleasing as the market has become an increasingly competitive environment due to the globalisation of manufacturers, and as previously reported, the impact of increased prices of raw materials, energy and freight costs."
The company boosted its profits by moving lower margin business away from the group following a detailed customer review.
Trifast said it was pleased with the performance of the business in Asia where it had seen increased sales and profits.
Revenues in this division were up 3.7 per cent to £13.52 million, with lower margin sales from Taiwan to the US automotive industry declining but being replaced by higher margin sales from China and Singapore.
Margins increased from 3.7 per cent to 34.8 per cent as a result.
Mr Auld said: "At the end of the year we did a complete review, looking at the low margin customers.
"As a result we lost some - only about five - which meant a dip in sales revenue, but we had a very big improvement in profits.
"That makes our staff feel happier about life, because we are getting better rates for the work they do and they are seeing a company which is healthy and still producing cash.
"We have just completed a staff survey and a customer survey, and they are both very happy. In fact the result are too good because we are going to have improve on them next year. We will have to rise to that challenge."
Mr Auld said Trifast was taking on more sales representatives across Europe, with the aim of increasing sales while maintaining the improved margins.
The company has been in the Far East for the last ten years, with sites in Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and China. In the future Mr Auld said it was aiming to increase the proportion of fasteners manufactured in the region from 4.5 per cent to around ten per cent, and the proportion of goods sourced there from three per cent to 15 per cent.
Mr Auld said: "That means another 25 per cent of our sales will come from our own resources, which means double margins and we keep the cash in house."
The firm was also looking at joint ventures in India as well as setting up a site in Vietnam to supply Foxcon, an electronics subcontractor to computer giant Apple.
"China is getting more expensive to produce in. There are a lot of people, but where we are in Shanghai, there is also a lot of wage inflation."
During the year, Trifast , which is based in Uckfield in East Sussex, increased its headcount in the Midlands by 12 people, and now employs 86 at its distribution centre in Wednesbury and 80 at its site in Hartlebury, near Kidderminster.
The growth represented an increase in sales activity around Europe. Mr Auld said: "We are bucking the trend and we are quite proud of that. These are a strong set of numbers which are in right in line with expectations. We are encouraged with the good start we have had to the second half."