This result has reinforced a need for Pittards to consider ways in which they could restructure their balance sheet, which currently precludes them from paying dividends because of the legacy of historic losses. They have stated that they are not in a position to declare a dividend at this stage but we are taking advice on the most appropriate way to rectify the position for the future.

In a statement Stephen Boyd, chairman of Pittards said: ‘Group sales to customers outside the UK made up 92% of revenue (2009: 89%). Sales from skin based products, mainly sports, service and dress gloves, which had been badly affected by the recession in the first half of 2009, picked up well. In the dress glove area this was due to a winter featuring sustained cold spells and in the sports glove area our customers restocked their pipelines in response to renewed consumer demand, having let their inventory levels reduce dramatically in 2009. Sales from products derived from hides showed a similar pattern to skin products as consumer confidence started to return around the world.

Global confidence is still variable with uncertainty about whether the recession has truly ended but we enter the second half of the year with a strong order book and sterling still relatively weak compared to the levels of recent years. We will be striving to maximise the benefits of our Ethiopian investment as soon as possible.’