Bosses at hi-tech firm Oxford Instruments are upbeat after seeing its finances take a major hike.

Chief executive Jonathan Flint believes the company’s markets in Asia are the reason for the company seeing a 7.2 per cent rise in its pre-tax profits to £11.9m for the year to March 31, while orders have risen by more than 22 per cent to a record £250m.

Although Oxford Instruments is based in Tubney Woods, near Abingdon, 95 per cent of its products are exported, helping it avoid the effects of the recession in the UK.

Mr Flint said: “Our research markets have stayed strong worldwide throughout the recession, while our industrial markets showed improvement in the second half of the year.

“In fact, industrial demand is is beginning to approach levels seen before the recession and Asian markets are investing hugely in hi-tech manufacturing which is very encouraging.”

While the firm saw 80 job losses in Oxfordshire last year, Mr Flint said the company was now starting to recruit again, adding to its 200-strong workforce.

He added: “While it is just a handful of scientists at the moment, but we will certainly go back to quite extensive recruitment. The business has turned the corner.”

When Mr Flint took over at the company in 2006 he launched a five-year plan to revamp and extend the business, moving it away from its core markets of magnets and into areas such as nanotechnology or micro-engineering.

But he admits the plan may take a year longer than anticipated.

He explained: “We expected to gain ten per cent organic growth during the plan and so far we have achieved that but we have chosen not to make any acquisitions to preserve cash.

“It may take a year more to achieve the plan — it depends on what we choose to acquire.”

• On July 2 Oxford Instruments will be receiving its ninth Queens Award for Enterprise from Lord Lieutenant Tim Stevenson.