Stobart Group saw underlying pre-tax profit rise 24.2 per cent to £15.4m in the first half on sales up 11.7 per cent to £243.7m.
Chief executive Andrew Tinkler said: “Eddie Stobart has performed particularly well after contract wins with Tesco, A G Barr and others which have added volume and margin and there is further growth to come from these contracts.
However, he warned: “Changes in the way our customers operate have provided challenges to us which we are addressing. In particular we have faced shorter lead times and volatility in volumes. In the long term we are well placed to take advantage of these changes in the market.”
Contract renewals in Eddie Stobart for Procter & Gamble, Gerber, Knauf and Crown.
The group invested £30m in a 50 per cent interest in Stobart Biomass Products in March. A further £1m was invested to enable it to acquire the business of Amenity Horticultural Services in July 2010.
Other developments include a new railway station and control tower at London Southend Airport which are near completion. Stobart also agreed a conditional five year operating agreement with Aer Arann with volumes expected to grow to 300,000 passengers per annum.
The group has slightly reduced its full year profit expectations as a result of reduced spend by Network Rail and increased overall finance costs.
Tinkler said: “We are also cautious that 2011 may see volumes affected by the increase in VAT rate and the government spending review. However, in the long term we see this as positive for the economy and our business. Overall, we look forward to further growth in the second half as new contracts fully contribute. Our efficient green fleets and innovative transport solutions continue to impress customers and our improved assets give excellent opportunities for adding value.”