Leica is back in profit and set for future growth thanks to an efficiency drive and surge in sales boosted by its new cameras, the S2, M9 and X1.

Leica notched up an 18% growth in sales over the previous year – exceeding its expectations – as the firm turned a ?5.2m net loss of a year ago into a net income of ?3.2m for the year to 31 March 2010.

Leica Camera AG chairman Rudolf Spiller said the news underlines the company?s ?development potential?.

?Leica is back again. Innovative technical solutions, outstanding product quality and distinct design… these are what attracts and enthuses an increasing number of consumers worldwide.?

David Bell, managing director of Leica?s UK operation, Leica Camera Ltd, said the results were ?both wonderful and crucial?.

He told Amateur Photographer this was a result of the support of customers ‘buying into our product innovation?.

Most of the year?s sales were generated by products launched within the past ten months, he said.

‘Bold’ move

Bell added: ?For Leica AG to launch three major new system cameras is extremely bold?.

?We now look, confidently, towards Photokina. Our company goal remains to be innovative above our weight and continue to surprise and delight.

‘Financially this is challenging. However, our results demonstrate the possibilities and we aim to grow.?

Bell signalled that a company no longer in the red is better placed to fulfil orders for future products.

He told us that a shortage of Leica M9 camera supplies was down to a need for Leica to maintain its ‘cashflow’.

?We simply cannot manufacture and stockpile new products in quantities suitable for a worldwide launch,’ he explained.

?This highlights the importance of taking the company into profit and we thank our customers for patiently waiting for supplies of cameras like the M9. The good news here is that supplies are improving by the week.?

Spiller continued: ?With its clear course for innovation, and its powerful and efficient structure, Leica has set the course for a successful turnaround.

?The success has been based on the readiness of both employees and management to support and structure the changes necessary to attain our shared objectives.?

Poised for growth

Andreas Lobejäger, who is in charge of Leica Camera AG?s finances, said that a combination of ?strong sales growth? and ?significantly increased efficiency? gives Leica ?greater scope for action in financial terms?.

?Leica has markedly improved its working capital, cashflow and equity base,? he added.

Last month, Leica Camera Ltd announced the closure of its warehouse in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.

Leica?s product service and support department is set to move to the firm’s store in London, as part of an expansion of its Mayfair shop which opened last year.

The move is part of a ‘restructure and reorganisation’ of Leica Camera Ltd, seen as ‘best for the operation of the company’, according to a UK spokeswoman.

Its sales, finance and administration office is due to move to a new location in Milton Keynes.

The firm announced that its registered office address will move to the London store.