$15m US Department of Defence order gives Avon Protection’s share price a major lift after tough period

September 7, 2022

Shares in defence manufacturing group Avon Protection soared by nearly 33% earlier this week after it announced a $15.1m (£13.1m) order with the Pentagon.

The Melksham-headquartered group, which specialises in protective gear, masks and breathing equipment for the military and first-responder markets, is to sell around 380,000 pairs of its M61 respirator filters to the US Department of Defence. Deliveries are expected to start early next year. 

The announcement on Wednesday triggered a 32.95% increase in Avon’s share price, which has been under pressure over recent weeks and had dropped to its lowest for six years.

The firm has been looking to bounce back from a tough year or so during which its shares have lost around 70% of their value as it struggled to overcome damaging delays in military orders from the US. 

The order announcement also included a brief update on trading in the second half of its financial year ending 30 September.

It said it trading had improved in line with the expectations it set out at the time of its half-year results in May when it told shareholders that the war in Ukraine and the increasingly volatile international political situation meant the need for its equipment had never been greater.

The uptick was due to a “modest improvement” in the mix in its respiratory portfolio, it said in the latest update, along with the start of deliveries of its body armour following achievement of full Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) approval.

These had partially offset the “negative headwinds” of its first half.

Avon also said its cost-reduction activities had continue to progress, meaning its overall performance for the year, excluding armour, was predicted to be at least in line with market expectations.

Shares in the group, which changed its name last year from Avon Rubber, were this afternoon ttrading at 929.5p, having started the week at 773p. 


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