RADCLIFFE-based James Halstead continues to defy the economic downturn with its positive performance soon to be reflected in its latest financial results.

The flooring manufacturer is set to announce a growth in turnover and trading profit when its interim results for the six months to December 31 are unveiled next month.

The group, which has a major production base in Whitefield, has provided a trading update ahead of its results. Last October, Halstead’s announced record results for the year to June 30.

The update statement revealed that chairman Geoffrey Halstead’s confidence, expressed at the annual meeting in December, was “well founded” and Halstead’s interim dividend, payable in June, will be a record.

The statement said: “Turnover and trading profit have continued to grow and will, in line with our expectations, be higher than the comparative period.

“The group is starting to benefit from falling raw material prices and export margins are being bolstered by the weakness of sterling.”

However, the group’s interest return on cash balances, about £31 million in December, is being affected by falling rates. Bosses estimate this will cost an annual £1 million going forward at current rates. Mr Halstead said: “The first six months’ sales and profit have been satisfactory and with the UK government committed to continuing infrastructure spending, we believe there is a bedrock of demand within the home market.

“Although sterling weakness benefits our significant export business, we remain cautious as to global performance in the current climate and we will continue our focus on cost reduction and control of working capital in the coming months.”

l The group has recently acquired a 289,000 sq ft warehouse in Oldham to consolidate existing temporary facilities and allow for continued expansion.