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Nov. 25, 2020, 3:24 a.m. EST

Melrose Industries sees upbeat performance

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By Joe Hoppe

Melrose Industries PLC said Wednesday that performance for the four months ended Oct. 31 has been in line with the top end of the board's expectations, though it cautioned against making any forecasts for 2021 given market uncertainty.

The turnaround specialist said it experienced faster-than-expected recovery in automotive markets beginning in the summer, continued strong performance at Nortek Air Management, and challenging-but-stable conditions in its aerospace business.

Powder-metallurgy revenue for the four months fell 7% from a year earlier, while automotive revenue declined 3%, Melrose said. Both divisions' performance improved during the period, and returned to profitability, with their respective operating margins over 7% and more than 6%, it said.

Of the other units, aerospace sales fell 37% on year, though it was beginning to see the benefits of significant restructuring and cost-saving actions, and the company expects the segment to break even for the year, Melrose said.

Nortek Air Management sales rose 13% with impressive revenue growth and reached its best performance under Melrose ownership, the company said.

"While short-term uncertainty remains, we are confident that our businesses can substantially improve their margins from today over the medium term even without the need for full-end market recovery," Chairman Justin Dowley said.

Write to Joe Hoppe at joseph.hoppe@wsj.com

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