Manganese Bronze Holdings PLC, the leading manufacturer of the distinctive London Taxi, today provides an update on current trading.
Trading continues to be impacted by the weakening UK economy and uncertainty over global macro economic conditions. In the UK, sales of TX4 taxis in Q4 of 2011 were 328 versus 384 in Q4 of 2010, a decline of 14.6%. This brings the UK sales for the year ended 31 December 2011 to 1,502 units compared to the 1,653 vehicles sold in the UK in 2010, a fall of 9.1% year on year. Overall, 754 vehicles were sold in H2 of 2011, compared to 748 in H1 of 2011.
The unresolved Eurozone sovereign debt crisis and its potential impact on banks has undermined confidence within the global banking community and made it more difficult to secure finance for international trade. An Irrevocable Documentary Credit was issued on 29 December 2011 to cover the last 500 vehicles of the Azerbaijan order of 1,000 taxis which were originally due to be shipped in October 2011. It is currently anticipated that these vehicles will be despatched by 30 January 2012. Because of the delay in securing finance, international sales for the quarter ended 31 December 2011 were only 14 vehicles, bringing the total for the year to 705 vehicles (2010: 226 vehicles).
The overall impact of lower UK sales and the delayed fulfilment of the Azerbaijan order will prevent the Group from achieving a profitable result for the year ended 31 December 2011. Whilst a proportion of this shortfall should be recovered when the delayed Azerbaijan sales are recorded in 2012, any continued softening of global economic conditions would mean that the Group is likely to fall short of meeting expectations for the current year.
Relationships between the Group and Geely continue to be very positive as they continue to work together closely on the launch of Geely products in the UK later this year, the development of the TXN, the saloon-car based taxi scheduled for introduction in 2014, and other business opportunities.