Drop in sales adds to conservatory group’s worries as court case rumbles on.

Ultraframe plc, the conservatory designer, says that the slowdown in the UK housing market has had a knock-on effect on its financial performance in 2005, with full-year sales falling 25%. It said that a wide range of cost-cutting measures had gone some way to offsetting the impact of the loss in sales, but that operating profit was expected to be significantly down on the previous year. It will make a full trading statement in December.

Looking towards 2006, Ultraframe said that it expected the current challenging market conditions to continue in the UK, but with the rate of decline in sales to slow as the year progressed. There was better news from the States: with a new divisional chief executive Mitch Pisik appointed in July, Ultraframe said that its North American business turnaround plan was on track, and that the division had returned to profitability for the full year.

The group said that it expected operating exceptional items for the year to be around £5m, excluding any payment that had to be made to rival Burnden. This month Ultraframe was ordered to pay £2.1m in costs to Burnden in a long-running legal dispute over intellectual property rights. The group intends to seek leave to appeal.