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WL Gore: Dundee space firm confident of growth despite £7m sales drop

The Apollo 11 Lunar Module ascending from the moon's surface.
The Apollo 11 Lunar Module ascending from the moon's surface.

A Dundee firm that assembles transmission cables for use in space has reported a £7m drop in sales.

WL Gore and Associates, based at Dundee Technology Park, develops wires used for space exploration.

Newly published accounts for the year to March 31 2021 show a 12% drop in turnover, from £69 million in 2020 to £62m.

Pre-tax profit also fell from £10m to £7m.

Headcount increased to 251 from 236 in the financial year. WL Gore employs about 150 people at its Dundee base.

The firm described its results as a strong balance sheet and said it laid the foundations for future growth.

Its equipment was used in NASA’s Apollo 11 mission in 1969, while Gore is best known for its GORE-TEX technical fabric.

In 2019, the business chose Dundee for its Space Centre of Excellence.

Looking forward to ‘positive growth’

Gore UK board member Rodger Pheely is confident the drop in sales is a temporary impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Pheely said: “The results reflect the effect it has had on some areas of the business, we see this as a temporary impact.

“We look forward to continuing positive growth in the coming years.”

WL Gore and Associates base at Dundee Technology Park.

Across the group, staff numbers rose to 251 from 236 in 2020.

There are 94 employees in production roles and 155 in management and administration jobs.

The increase in staff also saw the wage bill rise to £13.7m for the reporting period, up from £11.8m.

‘Significant uncertainty’ caused by Covid-19

Mr Pheely praised staff for dealing with the Covid pandemic.

He said: “We are proud of the incredible commitment and resilience shown by our associates in addressing the challenges of the global pandemic.

Our associates have risen admirably to the challenges of managing COVID- throughout these uncertain times.”

Rodger Pheely, UK board member of WL Gore and Associates.

In his strategic report, published alongside the accounts, Mr Pheely said the pandemic had caused “significant volidity, uncertainty and economic disruption”.

Manufacturing had continued with little to no effect on supply chain, he said, while adding the situation was being monitored.

Mr Pheely also said Brexit had not had an adverse impact on the firm.

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