Tomkins indicated its comeback today and said that it was doubling its workforce in Northern Ireland before new rules on tyre-pressure sensors are introduced in Europe.
The engineering company reported pre-tax profits of $38.4 million, compared with a loss of $8.1 million in 2008, better than anticipated results, helped by a recovery in car markets towards the end of the year.
Tomkins’ subsidiary, Schrader Electronics, based in Carrickfergus, has doubled its staff number to 800 after the European Union said that all new car models introduced into the EU from 2012 must have tyre-pressure sensors, which inform drivers whether any of their tyres is below optimum pressure.
The sensors are also supposed to make driving safer, particularly for sports utility vehicles, which can tip over easily if one tyre is not fully inflated.
James Nicol, Group Chief Executive, said that he expected the market for this product to double and that Tomkins would benefit from 2011 onwards.
The company has moved many of its plants to lower-cost countries, including Mexico, Turkey and China, where demand for power transmission belts is surging.
The company also revealed strong cashflow performance that helped to reduce net debt to about $200 million, down from £400 million at the end of the first half.