Profits up despite ‘turbulent year’ for Stobart

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Stobart Group has reported a 12 per cent rise in underlying operating profit to £44.9m for the year to 28th February, despite what chief executive officer Andrew Tinkler described as a “turbulent year”.

The group acquired Autologic Holdings in August, but closed its loss-making chilled pallet network. It reported a loss on discontinued operations of £13.4m for the year.

“Despite a turbulent year and a tough economic environment, our continuing operating businesses have produced a profit from continuing operations ten per cent up on last year and have again given us a good return on investment,” said Tinkler.

“We are now at a pivotal point in our four year plan and with our investment programme nearly complete we are moving into our value optimisation phase. Through our property assets we will be looking to return cash into the business, while our Air and Biomass businesses are poised to deliver further value enhancement.”

Operating profit in the Transport & Distribution division rose from £27.7m to £29.7m. It won a three contract with Tesco work equivalent to over £500m of revenue over duration.

Following the acquisition of Autologic Holdings in August 2012, Stobart disposed of the non-core Vehicle Services operation for £11.0m.

Avril Palmer-Baunack  who became executive chairman of the group in January, stepped down this week as announced in April.  Paul Orchard-Lisle, a non-executive director at Stobart Group since May 2011, has assumed the role on an interim basis while the search for a new non-executive chairman is completed.

Biomass operating profit was up from £1.2m to £4m, through Infrastructure and Civil Engineering was down slightly from £4.4m to £3.2m. Operating profit in the Estates business was down from £12.4m to £6.5m.

Group revenue on continuing operations rose to £572.4m from £491.7m in 2012. Underlying pre-tax profit slipped slightly to £32.5m from £35.4m.

Announcing its results for the year, the group stressed that it was now moving into an optimisation phase with the focus turning to selective realisations and cash generation.

Tinkler said: “Our management team is now focused on realising value from the investments made over the last few years.”


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