Carr's Group has reported a robust performance in the first half of the year.

The firm, which has agricultural and engineering divisions, recorded a pre-tax profit of £11.4m for the 26 weeks ending March 2, compared to £10.9m during the same period in 2018.

Carr's Group has more than 50 UK sites, a robotics business in Germany and animal-feed plants in the US.

Its Cumbrian operations include the Carrs Billington agricultural machinery dealerships and country retail stores, and Bendalls Engineering.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, it said highlights included a robust performance in agriculture, despite challenging market conditions and although warm weather had an impact on volumes, they were mitigated through improved efficiencies.

Carr's said there was a strong performance in engineering, significantly ahead of the year before and there was a improvement in UK manufacturing, driven by a strengthened management team and improved manufacturing efficiencies, a good performance in USA engineering and strong order book following contracts won in 2018 and a $8.5m contract win in remote handling business in the USA.

Tim Davies, chief executive, said: "The group delivered a good performance during the first half of the financial year and trading remains in line with the board's expectations for the full year.

"During the period, our agriculture division was impacted by challenging external market conditions, including unseasonably mild weather in marked contrast to the same period in 2018, and continued uncertainty in the UK around Brexit.

"However, we were able to mitigate the effect of these challenges through improved efficiencies, operating cost controls and better procurement.

"I am pleased to report that our engineering division had a strong start to the year as a result of good performances in our UK manufacturing and USA engineering businesses.

"We are now seeing strong order books across the division, driven by contract wins, and we have improved manufacturing processes and strengthened our management teams.

"Trading in the second half of the year has started in line with expectations, and the board's outlook for the full year remains unchanged.

"We also remain confident in the medium term prospects of the group as we continue to invest across our divisions, expand our product offering and grow our international footprint."