East Cambs transport company says haulage business “even more competitive” but diversification being to show rewards

16:41 22 August 2014

Transport boss Paul Day says the haulage business has become “even more competitive” during the last year as he bids to control costs and maintain profits.

The 54 year old boss of Turners of Soham says in the annual accounts just published that the “general economic climate offers little opportunity for organic growth.

“The ongoing need to control costs and increase efficiency continues.”

But Mr Day added: “Despite the harsh economic climate, we believe the group is well placed to meet its challenges and to continue its successful development into the future.”

Group turn over in 2013 was £242million up £6 million on 2012, and operating profits of £19.7 million compared to £20.5 million the year before. The margin on turn over was down slightly from 8.1 per cent to 7.6 per cent.

The annual accounts reflect current trends at Turners which is now split into three areas- temperature controlled division, tankers, general haulage.

The growth in the temperature controlled division (up £23million to £104million) compares to a drop in the tanker division to £93million from £109million and a £1million drop in turnover in the haulage division to £45million.

Mr Day says his company continues to be a major employer in the region –at the end of last year he employed 2,374, just six down on the 2012 figure.

The company accounts reflect only partially the impetus of the acquisition in August 2013 of Lewis Tankers of Selby which has 75 trucks transporting hazardous cargoes within the gas, chemical and aviation fuels sector.

Mr Day saw this as being a good opportunity to expand much on the lines of the 2012 acquisition of Browns Chilled Distribution in 2012 which operates 120 vehicles from a 27 acre site near Spalding.

Browns accounted for as much as £20million of the £23million increase in refrigerated operations.

Mr Day told Motor Transport magazine that the drop in its tanker division income was “wholly attributable” to wholesale fuels supplier Greenenergy deciding to bring its transport operations, including Sainsbury’s business, in-house.

He also said a £15million investment into two new packhouse facilities at Newmarket was on target.

“Overall, I’m happy with the results, slightly increased turnover with a slight drop in profit,” he told Motor Transport. “This reflects the rougher market conditions but in spite of this the shareholders continue to invest in the business for the long term.”

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