Wincanton sets out plan to rebound from recession

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Wincanton is targeting growth in retail combined with business development in new sectors to move back into growth after a tough year which has seen underlying operating profit drop 8.4 per cent.

Chief executive Graeme McFaull highlighted the retail opportunity as the group released its results for the year to 31st March. “Wincanton already operates for nine out of the top ten UK retailers, but only 12 out of the top 50,” he said. “There is substantial scope for further market share gains in the retail sector, with a very limited number of competitors able to match Wincanton’s track record in both complex solution design and implementation and the operational excellence which assures consistently high levels of service post-implementation.”

[asset_ref id=”861″] Graeme McFaull

He highlighted business wins with Marks & Spencer, Best Buy, Superquinn, and Asda as examples of the potential in this sector.

Development of activity in new sectors had a transformation potential for the group, he said. These sectors include foodservice, records management, containers, construction, home delivery, defence and recycling.

Group results (Year to 31st March 2010)
Sales: £2,182.9m (-7.6%)
Underlying operating profit: £54.6m (-8.4%)

UK & Ireland
Sales: £1,300m (-8.9%)
Operating profit: £48.4m (-7.8%)
Operating margin: 3.7%

Mainland Europe
Sales: £856.5m (-5.4%)
Operating profit: £6.2m (-12.7%)
Operating margin: 0.7%

McFaull also highlighted developments in vehicle and fleet management. “Collaborative transport models have been successfully trialled in the year for both leading retailers and manufacturers, including shared resource for High Street retailers and load consolidation among manufacturers in different industries. Customer wins and renewals in the year in vehicle and fleet management included WH Smith, GSK, Chevron and Air Products.

Expanding the range of services to existing customers is also on the agenda. McFaull highlighted work with customers including J Sainsbury, Argos, Homebase and Chevron in delivering services such as facilities management, cleaning, training, procurement and call centres. In addition, Wincanton has just set up a joint venture with Serco, targeting public sector opportunities.

On the continent, a major objective last year was the restructuring of the loss-making activities within the German road transport business, involving a reduction in headcount of some 400 employees, the closure of five sites and the substantial scaling back of activities at a further four locations.

This had now been completed, said McFaull, and “with the negative effects of our surplus space issues in France progressively reducing, we are in a position to focus on growth opportunities for the future without diverting management and financial resource to deal with the legacy issues of the past.”

Looking ahead, McFaull said: “Wincanton has produced a robust performance through the recession, proving the quality of its operations, the strength of its customer partnerships and the cash-generative nature of its business model. We look to the future with confidence, with leading positions in growth markets and focused on driving returns from our significant investment in new sectors and services”.

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