Stobart hopes to motor back to growth after a turbulent year

 
Marion Dakers
BRITISH haulier Stobart Group posted a 12 per cent rise in annual operating profit yesterday, and said it hopes a new contract with Tesco will help it move on from a “turbulent” year.

The firm, which promoted and then lost its executive chairman Avril Palmer-Baunack within the space of three months this year, said cost cutting in its transport and distribution business and strong growth in its fledgling biomass unit had paid off.

Operating profits on continuing business rose from £40.1m to £44.9m, on revenues 16 per cent higher at £572.4m. Restructuring charges brought pre-tax profits down from £27.5m to £17.5m.

“We are now at a pivotal point in our four year plan and with our investment programme nearly complete we are moving into our value optimisation phase,” said chief executive Andrew Tinkler in a statement yesterday.

The transport and distribution business, which has been hit by a downturn in the retail sector, underwent a huge restructuring over the past year, including the closure of Stobart’s chilled division.

Shares rose 6.2 per cent yesterday to close at 94p.