Bosses at hi-tech firm Oxford Instruments say the business is emerging from its troubled years and looking towards a brighter future.

The company is back in the black after making a loss last year and chief executive Jonathan Flint said he was looking to recruit more staff.

In the last five years the firm based at Tubney Woods near Abingdon has seen hundreds of jobs axed and seen its business shrink as it has carried out major restructuring.

It has moved away from its previously core business of manufacturing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems used in hospitals to new areas manufacturing specialised products for the nanotechnology and biotech markets.

Mr Flint said: "Oxford Instruments has moved to become a more commercially forward looking organisation with a better focus on the market.

"We are recruiting again in Oxfordshire and we are looking for a small number of technical people, engineers, scientists and sales and marketing staff which is good news for the local economy.

"We have made a start but we have to continue to do this over and over again."

Mr Flint added that the aim was to double the current turnover of £72.1m in the next five years.

Last March Oxford Instruments which employs about 500 people in Oxfordshire, cut 50 jobs after closing its plant in Eynsham and this was followed by news that the company had made a £900,000 loss.

But this has now been turned into a pre-tax profit of £1.7m for the six months to September 30.

Efforts are continuing to sell a large building in Abingdon which has remained empty since 2001 as well as the manufacturing site at Eynsham.

Oxford Instruments, which employs 1,200 people worldwide, was set up in 1959 by Sir Martin and Lady Audrey Wood to make low temperature superconducting magnets - then a pioneering technology.

After floating the company on the stock market, the couple set up the Oxford Trust to promote science and innovation.