Stobart profit rises after ‘difficult year’

Michael Hunt

Stobart said the group has strengthened in all aspects of the business despite the tough trading year, following the announcement of its preliminary results.

Within the Carlisle and Warrington based company's results, covering the twelve month period between the end of February 2009 and 28 February this year, it said profit before tax had increased by 53.4% to £34.1m from £22.1m last year.

Revenue from continuing operations had also increased 3.8% to £447.7m from £431.1m in 2009 and net debt was reduced by £57.9m since the interim date and by £23.8m since the last year end.

Stobart said operational highlights included the completion of phase one of its Widnes development and subsequent disposal of the 528,000 sq ft chilled warehouse 3MG for £61m and leaseback of the inland port to Legal & General Assurance in March.

Other highlights included its acquisition of Carlisle Airport, which it plans to expand. Stobart also added that several new contracts had been secured worth over £50m a year to the company.

Andrew Tinkler, chief executive, said: "These are very strong results given difficult trading conditions and the bad winter. We have made progress in our strategy to become the leader in multimodal transport and logistics with a positive contribution from all four divisions, road, rail, ports and air.

"This performance is driven by increased efficiency in our core business, new contract wins such as Unilever and developing strategic assets.

"We look forward to further progress in the coming year through expansion of our new Biomass business, commencement of the runway extension and new terminal at London Southend Airport and further efficiencies and contract wins in our main Eddie Stobart division."

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