JCB posts third-best profits ever, despite fall in sales

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Building equipment company JCB has achieved the third most profitable year in its history, despite a fall in pre-tax earnings.

The Staffordshire-based firm posted a 14.2% dip in profit compared to 2013.

Chairman Lord Bamford said the fall could be a result of "political uncertainty" in India and Brazil.

But he added that strong markets in the UK and North America offset the "fragile economies" of Asia, Latin America and Russia.

The business, which sells machines in more than 120 countries, made a pre-tax profit of £313m in 2013 and sales dropped 0.7% to £2.68bn.

World Cup woe

The firm, which admitted the new financial year had been "patchy", said its expansion plans were still on track.

Chief executive Graeme McDowell said the World Cup in Brazil had not delivered the boost to sales the company had hoped for.

He said: "The stadiums have been built and they're ready, but the surrounding infrastructure in terms of roads and hotels hasn't really happened."

JCB will spend £150m on a new plant in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire, creating 2,500 new jobs by 2018.

The company also plans to build another factory in Cheadle, Staffordshire, and a new plant opens in Jaipur, India, later this month.

Mr McDowell said business in India had been slow recently, because of uncertainty ahead of the general election there.

He said: "There has been a real wait-and-see attitude from our customers."

But he said he was confident orders would pick up once the election was over.

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