Wincanton increased its underlying operating profit by six per cent to £48 million for the year to 31st March, mainly as a result of cost reduction measures across the organisation.
Revenue was up 1.1 per cent to £1.098 billion, driven by growth in the construction sector.
Sales in contract logistics were up slightly to £930.1m. Wincanton saw strong growth in construction with sales up from £106.8m in 2013 to £126.1m last year reflecting growth in the market. Revenue in the retail grocery operations rose to £243.7m from £236.4m. However, general retail was down slightly at £230.5m.
Sales in the tanker and bulk operation were down from £122.9m to £99m reflecting contracts lost the previous year.
Start-ups going live in the year included second convenience distribution centre operations for both Morrisons and J Sainsbury, transport network operations for Coca Cola and warehouse services for US furniture retailer Williams-Sonoma.
Chief executive Eric Born highlighted the fact that Wincanton was becoming the leading 3PL in the convenience grocery sector with its contracts with Morrisons and Sainsbury’s.
Contract renewals included including a fuel distribution contract for Valero, network transport operations for GSK, co-packing and container operations for Procter & Gamble, Pernod Ricard and Brett Landscaping and Building Products.
Wincanton’s specialist business division also showed sales growth. The container transport operation’s revenue was up from £76.8m to £78.5m despite a weak market. The Pullman fleet management business also saw solid trading with revenue up slightly to £68.6m with contract wins with Asda for around half of its 1800 vehicle home shopping fleet and Argos for HGV repair and maintenance servicing in the second half of the year.
The group cut net debt to £64.9m from £107.6m the year before. The result after tax improved by 171 per cent from a profit of £10.1m to a profit of £27.4m. Chairman Steve Marshall said it was “benefiting from lower interest charges in the year due to lower net debt levels, as well as the net pension gain of £15.8m, principally from the closure of the defined benefit sections of the Group’s pension arrangements to future accrual”.
Born said: “In the coming year we will continue to enhance our own efforts to build pipeline, win market share and capture customer opportunities through the cross selling of products and services via improved business development structures.
“We will also continue to build on the work undertaken this year to constantly improve the efficiency of our operating model across our three main asset pools of people, property and fleet. Further enhancements from these areas and continued attention to detail on all costs will support improved performance going forward.”