Unipart chairman warns of Brexit risk to supply chains

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Unipart Group chairman John Neill CBE has warned that the risk Brexit poses to supply chains developed over decades “cannot be understated”.

Neill’s warning came in his chairman’s statement, filed to Companies House in the Unipart Group of Companies annual report. He said that 2018 had been a tough year for the UK economy in general, with particularly difficult trading conditions in the retail and automotive sector.

“Brexit continues to be a serious short, medium and long-term concern for our UK businesses,” he said. “The risk to complex, sophisticated and carefully choreographed supply chains developed over decades cannot be understated in the event of any failure to not only maintain but improve the free flow of products, services and people across borders.”

According to the annual report, turnover at the Unipart Group of Companies for the year-ending 31 December 2018 was down 5.6 per cent to £715.3 million, against £757.6 million in the previous year.

Unipart said that this was “primarily due to certain customers restructuring their reverse logistics supply chain strategies” along with “the challenging trading conditions caused by our customers in the retail and UK automotive manufacturing sectors”.

Pre-tax profit rose 6.6 per cent to £24.3 million, compared to £22.8 million a year ago. Unipart said the profit rise was a result of “absorbing significant investments in digital technologies that will help deliver future growth for the group”.

Highlights in 2018 included winning a five-year, £730 million contract to run NHS Supply Chain logistics across seven UK sites – which commenced in February 2019 – and a contract with Volkswagen Group to run its UK aftermarket supply chain.

This year Unipart signed a new contract with Jaguar Land Rover in August to retain packing services for a further four years.

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