Scotland business

Bus firm Alexander Dennis reports fall in turnover

Alexander Dennis Enviro200 bus Image copyright Alexander Dennis

Bus and coach builder Alexander Dennis (ADL) saw turnover fall by 4% to £577m last year as a slowdown in demand in its UK market put the brakes on sales.

The firm reported UK vehicle sales fell by £52m to £304m in 2017 as "normalised levels of demand" returned.

It said 2016 had been "exceptionally strong" as bus operators bought more new double deck vehicles to comply with disability discrimination legislation.

Despite the lower turnover, pre-tax profits rose slightly to £24.4m.

The Falkirk-based firm attributed the earnings increase in part to its focus on higher margin products and markets, and reduced warranty and support costs.

Image caption ADL is already the UK's largest manufacturer of buses

ADL reported an 11% rise in international vehicle sales, to £207m, following a "record" year for the company in North America.

Sales in the USA were "at their strongest for a number of years", with increased volume being met by its new vehicle manufacturing facility in Indiana.

During the year ADL also delivered its first vehicles into Mexico. The company said the "breakthrough" order for 90 double deck buses were built in the UK, using the export credit agency UK Export Finance to underpin the transaction.

Meanwhile, Asia Pacific sales declined in 2017 due to lower volume from Hong Kong.

ADL added that sales in the region were affected last year by delays to a number of expected tenders in markets such as New Zealand.

Chief executive Colin Robertson said: "In 2018 we expect to return to top-line growth due to a number of strong international markets.

"There is however more short-term uncertainty in the UK, particularly with the larger provincial operators."

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