PROFITS fell sharply at Gloucestershire engineering firm Renishaw in the past six months but growth has continued.

The global firm reported a 65 per cent fall in pre-tax profit to £25.6 million for the six months to December 2013.

Revenue fell by six per cent to £164 million over the same period.

Announcing its half-year results, the business showed increases in both revenues and profits in the second quarter, with particularly strong demand for 3D additive manufacturing, measurement automation, spectroscopy and encoder products.

Second quarter profit before tax amounted to £15 million, an increase over the restated £14.5 million for the corresponding period last year.

Sir David McMurtry, chairman and chief executive of the Wotton-under-Edge firm, said this year’s profits were up against extremely tough comparative figures.

He said: "This first half year was subject to tough comparators due to exceptionally high revenue from certain Far East customers, mainly in the first quarter last year.”

The six months to December 2012 saw Renishaw gain bumper profits of £42.2 million, largely due to exceptional sales to the Chinese electronics industry.

Renishaw spent £19.5 million on property, plant and equipment during the six months.

Work is currently taking place in Wotton on a 145,000 sq ft facility at the New Mills headquarters. It is expected to be in use this autumn.

Sir David added: "Whilst the group faced tough financial comparators for the first half of this financial year and sterling has strengthened in recent months, we are expecting an improvement in trading activities and revenue in the second half.

“With our continuing investment in our business sectors, we remain confident for the longer term prospects for the group."

At the end of last year, Renishaw employed 3,309 people. More than 1,200 staff work for the company in Gloucestershire.