UK Mail soars as online shopping boosts volumes

PARCEL delivery company UK Mail Group yesterday said pre-tax profit rose 63 per cent in the first half as there were three extra working days in the period and higher deliveries of online purchases continued to drive growth.

The company, which provides parcels, mail and logistics services, said pre-tax profit rose to £11.9m pounds in the first half ended 30 September from £7.3m a year earlier. Revenue rose 7.9 per cent to £243.4m.

UK Mail was the largest independent parcel and mail delivery company until Royal Mail was privatised by the government in October.

The company said average daily volumes rose 25 per cent in its parcels business largely due to higher home deliveries related to online shopping.

The company said the automation of its parcel business would be completed in early 2015 and expected the process to lead to double-digit net returns by September 2015.

UK Mail also raised its interim dividend to 7.1p from 6.4p a year earlier.

Shares in the Berkshire-headquartered company closed up 5.13 per cent at 615p in thin trading on the London Stock Exchange yesterday.

“This has been a period of very strong growth, driven particularly by strong increases in our parcels volumes. Trading to date in the second half has been in line with our expectations and we remain confident of a positive outcome for the full year,” chief executive Guy Buswell said.

“We are now entering the next phase of strategic investment,” he added.