A strong performance in the UK has boosted full year results at Wincanton.
Underlying operating profit rose 8.3 per cent to £45.5 million in the year to 31st March while sales were up 6.8 per cent to £1.93 billion. The UK and Ireland business produced an underlying operating profit of £42m – 11.1 per cent up on last year while sales were up five per cent.
However, in the Continental business, underlying operating profit of £3.5m was down on last year’s £4.2m. The company said this was significantly below what it believed represented the profit potential of those businesses: “Although some of our operations are expected, structurally, to deliver lower margins, we are nonetheless committed to delivering a significant improvement on the sub-one per cent margin reported on this year’s turnover of £718.6m.”
Chief executive Graeme McFaull said: “It is our objective to increase our margin in Mainland Europe to not less than two per cent over the next three years, with further progress anticipated in the longer term. Germany accounts for 68 per cent of our turnover in Mainland Europe, France for 16 per cent, and Poland for a further six per cent. These are the countries in which we have the best developed infrastructures, in which we have been reinforcing our management teams and on which we are focusing our marketing and business development initiatives.”
In the UK, Wincanton had a number of significant contract wins including a five year renewal and extension with Somerfield, and a new direct import centre for Argos.