£1.2m profit for Scots vehicle company  31 | 08 | 2010

    A SCOTS COMPANY, which was founded in 1859 as a builder of horse-drawn carriages, has reported an operating profit “in excess of £1.2 million” for the year to the end of March. Dumfriesshire-based Penman Engineering Holdings, which shifted from horse-drawn carriages to building motor car bodies on various makes of chassis in the early 1900s, now specialises in low-profile armoured vehicle production and employs around 140 staff from its base in a secret 15-acre site in the West of Scotland.

    The company has benefitted in the growth in demand for its vehicles around the world as a result of escalating global security fears and continuing military and police campaigns against insurgent movements.

    Penman builds highly specialised vehicles, including specially-adapted Land Rovers that are used by police, paramilitary and border patrols worldwide, and even armoured saloon cars to defeat common ballistic threats. It also builds a range of armoured cash-in-transit vehicles as well as antipersonnel landmine clearance systems. Many of its vehicles now have mine-blast protection, fragmentation protection and riot protection.

    In addition to its main site near Dumfries, Penman also operates its Aardvark landmine clearance equipment business in Insch near Aberdeen. Purchased for £2.6m in 2007, according to Penman's directors, Aardvark 'delivered another profitable year'.

    “The operating businesses maintained a balanced portfolio of UK and overseas, government and civilian clients and have developed new business with a number of key UK defence contractors," the directors of the privately-owned Penman Engineering Holdings said in their financial report.

    “Increasingly, our business involves integration of Penman- designed automotive, armour protection and complex electronic systems, with the associated customer-support elements. The consolidated accounts to March 2010 reflect another successful trading year.”

    Jim McGill

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