The Norbert Dentressangle Group has posted a 23 per cent rise in operating profit before goodwill and impairment of goodwill to 98.2 million euros in 2008, up from 79.8 million euros the previous year. Sales were up from 1.8 billion euros to 3.1 bn euros.
Recurring operating profit rose by 17 per cent to 78.9 million euros, which compares with proforma operating income of 91 million euros in 2007.
The logistics division generated a recurring operating profit of 42.7 million, an increase of 48 per cent, with a one point rise in the margin on activities in the historic structure to 5.3 per cent.
The former Christian Salvesen logistics activities are currently being restructured in France.
Within the transport division, recurring profit fell by seven per cent to 36.2 million euros, which the group said was as a result of the “very poor performance of the Christian Salvesen transport activities in the UK” along with the associated restructuring costs and the slowdown in activity in the last quarter.
The decline came despite the “relatively resilient performance” of the group’s historic transport activities and the former Salvesen pallet distribution activities in Spain and France.
François Bertreau, chairman of the executive board, said the UK transport division has not been managed effectively for some time now so to remedy the situation Norbert Dentressangle first changed the transport management team, re-establishing the basics, and secondly reduced the size of the network and redesigned the system by “reinforcing good habit”.
Sales for 2008 were 3,107 million euros, up 72 per cent on 2007, owing to the full-year consolidation of the Christian Salvesen business.
On a like-for-like basis activity increased by 4.3 per cent, with the logistics division seeing a seven per cent rise in organic growth and the transport business reporting an increase of 2.8 per cent.
Bertreau added: “Our 2008 results reflect the group’s new size following the acquisition of Christian Salvesen and the effect of the sharp and sudden economic downturn in the last quarter of the year.
“Besides reorganising the former Christian Salvesen transport activities in the UK, our priority for 2009 is to maintain our competitiveness by permanently adjusting our operating resources to our clients’ activity.”
He said: “It is important to be able to adjust in difficult times. Our target is to be ready for when the economy starts picking up again.”
A dividend of 0.7 euros per share will be proposed to shareholders at the group’s general meeting on 26th May 2009.
Looking forward, the group has said it will use the “flexibility of its industrial structure to adapt to fluctuations in its clients’ volumes”.