Pre-tax profits and revenues at advanced manufacturer James Cropper have jumped thanks to record sales in its specialist materials division and the “softening” of pulp prices.

The Burneside-headquartered company reported a pre-tax profit of £2 million for the half year to September 28, 2019 – up £600,000, or 42 per cent, compared to figures for the same period in 2018.

Revenue also increase year-on-year by five per cent, from £52.8m for the first half of 2019 compared to £50.3m for the same period last year.

Earnings per share stood at £17p, up 32 per cent, while the dividend per share remained at 2.5p.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, the company hailed the impact of record half year sales for its Technical Fibre Products (TFP) business, which develops and manufactures high performance non-woven materials for the aerospace, medical, infrastructure, automotive, defence and energy sectors.

Revenues for its non-plastic packaging product Colourform – which has seen a number of major contracts go live in the past 12 months – also hit the £1m mark.

Meanwhile, the “softening” of pulp prices – which has hit James Cropper’s financial performance hard in the past few years – had seen its paper division return to profitability.

James Cropper chairman, Mark Cropper, said the group was focused on delivering long-term growth, with the full year results anticipated to be in line with management expectations.

"TFP has delivered its best ever sales performance for a half year and is set to continue growth in the second half,” he said.

“Plans to provide an additional 50 per cent capacity in TFP by the end of the 2020 calendar year are on track.

“Paper sales are projected to grow year on year with the benefits of an improved mix and a softening of pulp price leading to a return to profit.

“Continued commercialisation for Colourformä is projected as the business gains further traction in the market.”

He added: “We invest significantly in people, innovation and capability. This will ensure that over the long term the group has the potential to sustain growth across all its businesses.”

The results mark a dramatic turnaround for the company after it saw a dramatic drop in pre-tax profits and operating profits for the full year to March 30, 2019.

Last week James Cropper emerged victorious at the in-Cumbria Business Awards 2019, walking away with the Best Marketing Strategy accolade for its CupCycling business.

The company’s state-of-the -art CupCycling facility recycles waste coffee cups and turns them into luxury papers, bags and packaging for big names including Selfridge's and Lush.

TFP were one of the big winners at the 2018 awards, picking up both the Best Manufacturing Business and Best Innovation awards.