Wincanton moves back into profit

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Wincanton moved back into profit last year, reporting a pre-tax profit of £20.4m against a loss of £47.4m the year before.

It also revealed that it had provided logistics services for the Olympics last year. “We were especially delighted to support the London 2012 Games as a supplier of warehousing and logistics services,” said chief executive officer Eric Born.

“Our dedicated teams supplied and installed warehouse systems in two London logistics centres, and then handled millions of items from medal rostrums through to athlete’s beds and sporting equipment.”

Contract wins last year included: LOCOG and Tilda and new areas of work with existing customers including Morrisons, the NHS, CEMEX, Rolls Royce, Sainsbury’s, BAE Systems and Valero.

Born said Wincanton has made progress with offering broader supply chain solutions in the year, in particular with the extensive technological developments inherent in the convenience store distribution centre solutions.

“With Kiddicare, Wincanton was able to help the retailer navigate its way to building a store presence within 16 weeks of project conception. With surety of supply a key requisite, Wincanton took responsibility for integration of online and offline sales, network design, stock allocation and store build to ensure a successful launch for Kiddicare.

“With Morrisons we successfully opened their first convenience store distribution centre, use our systems solution. We also provided significant project management expertise to ensure the warehouse start-up and systems infrastructure was brought on stream in time for the launch of the service.”

While profits were up, sales for the year to 31st March were down 9.6 per cent to £1.09bn. The group said this was expected as the previous year’s figures included the Foodservice business, which has been sold, and the loss of certain contracts in the prior year, together with the lower level of customer volumes through some business units.

Chairman Steve Marshall made it clear that Wincanton is still focused on reducing its net debt and improving its balance sheet. Net debt at the year end stood at £107.6m compared to £114.5m the year before.

Looking ahead, Born said: “In addition to growing the business and broadening our offering we will continue to drive out further costs by improving the efficiency of our operating model across our three main asset pools of people, property and fleet. We believe further enhancements from these areas and continued attention to detail will maximise our operational performance and generate increased levels of free cash flow going forward.”

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