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High demand for body armour from British and US forces has seen first half profits at UK personal protection equipment (PPE) manufacturer Morgan Crucible soar.

The engineering group said that with continuing violence in Iraq and Afghanistan strong sales of military PPE have seen first half pre-tax profit double to £30.1m from £15.1 million.

Incoming chief executive, Mark Robertshaw, said: "That [armour] business is pretty strong at the moment, as you would expect given some of the conflicts that we are seeing across the globe, and probably will remain pretty strong for the foreseeable future."

Total group sales for the first half fell from £391.7 million to £336.3 million, although underlying operating profit grew from £33.2 million to £35.7 million.

Morgan Crucible said that it is now in the process of expanding its factory in Pennsylvania in order to increase production of carbon used in PPE for the SAS and other military units.

It also confirmed that it has recently acquired Aceram, a Canadian armour technology business, which will expand the scope of services it provides to armed forces around the world.

track© Adfero Ltd

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