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Scott Technology to boost staff in local markets, sounds warning on protectionism

Thursday 1st December 2016

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Investors in Scott Technology, the industrial robotics firm, have been told its order book remains at a high level, with moves afoot to increase its manufacturing capacity and the number of staff. 

Chief executive Chris Hopkins told the annual general meeting in Christchurch that he expected the biggest opportunities to come from the mining and meat processing sectors in the near term, where he said new products are already being commercialised. 

The Dunedin-based company completed a scheme of arrangement in April which raked in $41 million of new capital after Brazilian meat processor JBS took a 50.1 percent majority stake, some existing shareholders sold down, and others took up their entitlements under the associated rights issue. At balance date, the company had $34 million of cash in the bank and no debt. 

According to notes published to the NZX, Hopkins told investors that they would look to put more people into local markets. 

"Supporting engineering sales and marketing efforts with local staff ensures that we pick up and respond to emerging trends impacting on our customers," he said. 

Chair Stuart McLauchlan sounded a note of warning about a world in which governments were becoming increasingly protectionist. 

"We are hopeful the incoming leadership in the United States continues the work of previous administrations to liberalise trade flows around the world which have brought substantial benefits to many nations and their people over the past few decades," he said. "Talk of tariffs and punitive actions against trading nations selling into the US market has raised the prospect of trade wars and the undoing of all the progress that has been made to lift many tens of millions of people around the world out of poverty."

Scott Technology has sales and service offices in Dallas, Texas and Marion, Ohio in the US. McLauchlan said that 84 percent of its revenues in the past twelve months had come from outside of New Zealand. 

Shares in Scott Technology were unchanged at $2.06 and have risen 39.8 percent since the start of the year.

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