Stewart Oades can take credit for pushing up operating profit at Christian Salvesen by 15.5 per cent after just a year in the hot seat. Operating profit for the full year rose to £20.9m on sales up just 1.9 per cent at £820.7m.
The business is now grouped into two overall sectors: Food and Consumer, and Transport. Revenue in the Food and Consumer businesses was down two per cent but operating profit before exceptional items rose 16 per cent. The transport businesses increased revenue by six per cent, but operating profit was down 26 per cent as substantial advances in France and Iberia were offset by losses in the UK.
Oades’ strategy is to build on Salvesen’s strengths, focusing on target market segments to rejuvenate the business. In particular it is trying to leverage existing customer relationships to win larger, more complex contracts that involve significant levels of value-adding services, and to secure new partners.
The group said it expected its markets to remain competitive for the foreseeable future. “Pressure on pricing will not go away, and we will remain sensitive to any increases in our costs. During the year, we faced further rises in fuel costs. In the UK and France we were broadly able to recover these from customers; but this has been harder in Spain, and margins suffered as a result.”