Brake disc maker upbeat despite cost pressures

Merseyside supercar brake disc maker Surface Transforms sticks with £23m sales forecast despite high levels of scrap costing a ‘sizeable’ amount of cash. Tony McDonough reports

Surface Transforms
Surface Transforms makes brake discs for multiple automotive manufacturers including Porsche


Carbon fibre brake disc manufacturer Surface Transforms (ST) says it remains optimistic that annual sales will almost triple to £23m in 2024 despite further cost pressures.

Knowsley-based ST, which is listed on the Alternative Investment Market, issued a trading update on Tuesday morning. It reported sales in the first three months of 2024 of £3m. This is more than double the £1.4m for the same quarter in 2023.

In January ST reported sales of £8.3m for the 12 months to December 31, a rise of 63% on 2022. It said it had finally put “a very difficult 18 months” as it grappled with the “growing pains” of installing extra production capacity. 

ST manufactures carbon fibre reinforced ceramic automotive brake discs for high performance cars. Customers of the business include, or have included Porsche, Ferrari and Nissan, AMG, Aston Martin, Jaguar Land Rover and Lamborghini.

It currently has a forward order book of £390m. In the latest update it said: “The single point of failure capacity constraints have now, almost all, been resolved.

“…The revised maintenance procedures and continuing operator training have significantly improved plant availability, and performance.”

However, ST said that its prime remaining operational challenge relates to continuing high levels of scrap from processes that are not yet fully capable. This issue has “absorbed a sizable amount of working capital and cash”.

It added: “Again we regard these issues as a learning curve and note that considerable success has been achieved in recent weeks in reducing scrap. We expect to continue these improvements over the coming months unlocking further capacity.”

READ MORE: Full year sales rise 20%+ at Jaguar Land Rover

The company has now agreed revised 2024 delivery schedules with all customers that progressively pull back arrears. It broadly kept to these schedules and said the customer situation is “stable”.

Chief executive Kevin Johnson said: “Our priority in Q1 was a combination of fixing the underlying fundamentals and continuing to improve customer relationships. Our customers have been kept fully informed of progress and remain committed.

“The team has also made significant progress on the key challenges of building capacity and reducing scrap which is critical to continuing our ramp up and driving revenue growth during 2024 and 2025.

“Our commitment to building up production capacity, this year and beyond remains absolute.”

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