SPECIALIST glass manufacturer Romag has marked the end of a year of growth and expansion by revealing profits have risen by more than a third.

And although the County Durham company said it could not make any long-term guarantees for growth due to the volatility of the market, Romag said it remains “confident” for its prospects in the medium term.

Over the past year, Romag’s strong growth has continued across its range of products, with sales increasing 93 per cent to £33.6m, and pre-tax profits rising 35 per cent to £3.7m.

Its photovoltaic glass range, PowerGlaz – which over the past year has been used in Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and St Pancras Station in London – has continued its phenomenal progress, with two extra production lines now installed in Romag’s Consett headquarters to help meet increasing global demand.

The move created 40 jobs.

Yesterday, the company revealed it has signed an agreement with the Dubai-based Gulf International Trading Group to market its products in the Middle East.

The company said that exports are a key market for the future of the business, accounting for more than 80 per cent of Romag’s sales.

John Kennair, chairman of Romag, said that while the longer-term market for its product is harder to predict due to the global downturn, the medium-term prospects for the company look good.

He said: “Our past experience has been that in times of recession, the security market has a tendency to grow, our transport sales remain fairly constant and the specialist architectural applications, because the installation of the glass is at the end of the building cycle, tend to be affected late into the recession.

“However, PowerGlaz now accounts for more than 70 per cent of our total sales and it is the current uncertainty in the solar market that makes forecasting difficult.”

Mr Kennair said the increasing emphasis put onto solar energy by the US, Europe and the Middle East indicated there would be good prospects ahead for PowerGlaz, and the Government’s amendment of the Energy Bill to accommodate the introduction of a feed-in tariff for renewables increases its prospects in this country “significantly”.

He said: “While there is undoubtedly an amount of uncertainty about the solar market in 2009, particularly in the early part of the year, the directors believe that Romag is well placed to take advantage of the medium term opportunities this market will offer.”