Scottish sausage skin manufacturer Devro's interim pre-tax profit surged as the company reduced net debt “significantly”.

For the six months ended June 30 pre-tax profit jumped to £7.9m from a loss of £48.6m in 2001on sales which rose slightly, up 1.2%, to £67.1m on a like-for-like basis compared to £59.8m for the same period last year.

Pre-tax profit before exceptionals was £7.9m versus £6.1m in 2001.
The group said net debt “has been reduced significantly" to £48.2m from an overall level, including preference shares as debt, of £60.7m at December 31 2001 and £73.1m at June 30 the same year.

Chairman Pat Barrett said: “Following the sale of Cellulose, our business is again demonstrating significantly greater stability. Our ability to concentrate our resources once again on our core products is beginning to create opportunities for us in a number of areas.”

Devro sold its US cellulose business Teepak in August last year as a series of food safety scares, compounded by last year’s foot and mouth crisis, hit profitability.