Window-maker says further automation is only way to protect UK manufacturing base.

Titan Holdings says it remains cautious about its short-term prospects as it announces an 11.1% increase in pre-tax profits – up to £1.18m – for the year to 30 September on an almost unchanged turnover of £16.44m.

Chairman John Anderson said that the improved performance had been assisted by measures taken last year to reduce cost base and be more efficient. He warned that if Titan was to maintain its UK manufacturing base in the face of international competition it would have to reduce manufacturing costs further.

“To this end, we have invested in further significant automation of our production and packaging processes,” he said, but added; “in parallel with UK manufacturing investment, we will continue to seek cost-effective supply options from overseas where appropriate.”

In his statement, Anderson said that sales in the firm’s traditional UK window market had fallen slightly as demand fell in line with the general slowdown in the economy. Despite new building regulations due to come into force in 2006 – specifying that trickle ventilators be installed in domestic replacement windows, which could drive sales of Titan’s ventilation products – Anderson said he remained cautious about short-term prospects.