Ricardo has provided a trading update following the first quarter ended 30 September, 2020, with an order intake of GBP 105.2m (US$139m).

The supplier will announce half-year results in February, 2021.

Overall Q1 order intake was strong at GBP105.2m, up 19% on the pre-COVID quarter to 30 September, 2019. This was also up on the GBP70m of orders received in the quarter ended 30 June, 2020. All segments delivered an increase in order intake compared to the prior period except for Performance Products which, as expected, received fewer orders for McLaren engines.

Whiet the level of orders received in the first quarter was strong, the automotive order intake did include more than GBP20m in respect of two large multi-year programmes which are workable across a longer period. In addition, Ricardo continues to experience challenging conditions in Automotive & Industrial (A&I) EMEA and expects the order intake that is workable in the short term to remain at a low level in the remaining months of H1.

With this mix of orders received and forecast, it expects group revenue and trading performance to be materially more weighted towards the second half of the current financial year than in previous years. Historically operating profit phasing has typically been 40%, H1 and 60%, H2 and in FY21, as it emerges from the impact of COVID 19, it expects this to be around 25%, H1 and 75%, H2, including a contribution from the expected HMMWV fleet retrofit contract in H2.

Performance Products, including the software business, received orders of GBP13.2m, down 42% on the prior period. The reduced level of orders was in line with expectations and primarily reflects a lower level of orders from McLaren, which is now steadily increasing production following the shut-down in Q4 ended 30 June, 2020.

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“The economic outlook continues to be uncertain and we approach the year ahead with a degree of caution, with our non-Automotive businesses providing some resilience against continuing challenges in the Automotive segment,” said Ricardo CEO, Dave Shemmans.