National: Logistics group Wincanton falls into the red

SUPPLY chain logistics group Wincanton today hailed “a year of transformation” and improved margins, despite posting an annual loss for the year to March 31.

Revenues across the group, which operates from 250 sites around the UK and Ireland, at locations including Felixstowe and Ipswich, fell from �1.328billion to �1.203bn in a year which saw Wincanton sell its interests in mainland Europe.

Underlying operating profit dipped from �46.7million to �43.8m, but benefited from an improvement in margin from 3.5% to 3.6%.

The pre-tax loss of �47.4m, which compared with a profit of �3.6m the year before, reflected closure and restructuring costs of �29.1m, property provisions of �34.1m and a loss on disposals of �4.8m.

Chief executive Eric Born said: “This has been a year of transformation for Wincanton as we reposition the group for a return to profitable growth. Following the successful disposal of the mainland Europe businesses, Wincanton is now a UK and Ireland business where we have a great operational reputation and critical mass.

“The operating business in the UK and Ireland is now better focused and is performing well both in securing existing contracts and winning new business.

“This creditable performance has been achieved against a significant headwind from economic uncertainty which has not only impacted volumes but also, more materially, the actions of our customers,” he said.

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Looking ahead, Mr Born added: “In the new financial year we will continue to concentrate on improving the performance of the operating business to its full potential and will also develop further our product and service extensions.”