Specialist UK engineer Renishaw has slightly raised its full year sales and profits guidance after announcing strong improvements in the three months ending in March.

The maker of factory measuring equipment and 3D printers, which was hit by a 44 per cent drop in profits last year, said profits in its third quarter came in 54 per cent higher at £33.6m, compared with £21.8m in the same period last year.

Profits for the nine-month period were £69.3m compared with £50.4m last year.

Renishaw said it now expected profits for the year to June 30 to be in the range £99m to £108m. At the half year stage, the Gloucestershire company said profits would be £85m to £105m. It expects sales to be £520m to £535m, compared with earlier guidance of £500m to £530m.

Like other UK-listed engineers Renishaw was hit last year by reduced demand in Asian economies such as China and South Korea. Renishaw profits in 2016 were 44 per cent down on the previous year at £80m, with sales down 12 per cent at £436.6m.

The engineer is a world leader in metrology equipment that monitors and analyses the work of sophisticated cutting tools in factories. Its devices drive efficiency and precision in manufacturing operations.

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