Freight volumes drive DX growth post-lockdown

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Express courier DX (Group) saw its turnover rise 2% year-on-year as post lockdown volumes recovered to higher than predicted levels.

For the year-ending 30 June turnover rose to £329.3 million from £322.5 million, while it turned a pre-tax loss of £200,000 in financial year 2019 to a pre-tax profit of £1.8 million.

DX said it remained “fully operational” throughout lockdown and while overall delivery volumes initially fell by “around a third” after the emergency measures were introduced, volumes had steadily recovered and were now above levels anticipated before lockdown.

DX chairman Ronald Series said that DX had made significant progress in its most recent financial year, and its return to an adjusted pre-tax profit, “despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic”, marked the completion of the first phase of its turnaround.

“These strong results were largely driven by the improved performance of DX Freight, and reflects the hard work we have put into this division over the past two years.”

Series told investors of the imapct of lockdown and Covid-19 on the business: “We acted quickly to reallocate drivers and vehicles to busier activities and routes, and reduced the use of subcontractors to ensure that our own resources were fully utilised. Even so, a number of employees were furloughed and we made use of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We recognise the importance to the economy and to our group of this support. The vast majority of the furloughed employees have now returned to work.

“Since Easter, volumes have steadily recovered and they are now above the levels we had anticipated before the lockdown. This strong rebound was helped by remaining fully operational throughout the period and continuing to provide customers with high levels of service.”

Its Freight division, which specialises in the delivery of larger and heavier items, including those with irregular dimension and weight (IDW) saw turnover rise 7% year-on-year to £169 million.

DX also reduced the EBITDA loss the division made by 85% year-on-year to £1.2 million, and it added that the division had moved into profitability in the second half of the year.

During the financial year DX Freight increased its capacity and efficiencies, opening new depots and installed new mechanisation equipment at its main Willenhall Hub and regional sortation sites. It said it had recently opened new depots at Oxford and Westbury, and further depot openings were planned.

In its Express division DX said performance was affected by the completion of its contract with HMPO, as well as by the coronavirus crisis.

Turnover decreased to £160.3 million from £163.9 million while EBITDA decreased to £23.3m from £26.9m last year. DX said the division was focusing on the expansion of its secure courier service. During the year, the division launched its Expected Time of Arrival (ETA) service, which enables a 2-hour delivery window and ‘in-flight’ re-scheduling options to keep customers informed of the progress of their delivery.

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