Fuel, food and feed distributor NWF Group, owner of Boughey Distribution, saw pre-tax profit for the year ended 31 March 2020 grow 36.1% to £13.2m (2019: £9.7m).

Revenue for the period increased by 2.4% to £687.5m with market share gains in fuels and feeds and solid performance in food.

The group completed and integrated three fuels acquisitions during the year, increasing the scale of the business by over 20%.

Food’s new 240,000sq ft warehouse, now fully racked, increased total storage capacity by 35% to 135,000 pallets, underpinned by long-term customer contracts.

The company said significant outperformance in fuels was the result of an unprecedented fall in the oil price, and a significant increase in domestic demand during lockdown, delivering one-off gains.

Operating profit for the fuel division was £11m (2019: £5.6m), ahead of previous expectations

Operating profit for the foods division was £1.4m (2019: £1.8m). The underlying performance from the division was in line with expectations. It incurred one-off start-up costs of £0.5m as planned for a significant warehouse expansion in Crewe, which is backed by customer contracts.

Operationally the business successfully managed the increase in supermarket demand during lockdown.

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The Feeds division saw profits of £1.9m (2019: £2.8m) amid strong volume and market share growth in a smaller ruminant market. However, these volume benefits were offset by higher energy costs and margin pressure in the second half following commodity cost increases. Investment in the future included the launch of the NWF Academy which will train future nutritionists to support continued growth.

All divisions have remained open and operational during the pandemic, providing essential services. No government support has been utilised and no staff were furloughed.

The balance sheet remains in a strong position, the company said, with leverage at 0.7x, after having invested £7.9m in acquisitions and expansion.

The board has proposed a 4.5% increase to the total dividend to 6.9p per share, reflecting its confidence in the resilience and prospects of the business.

"NWF has delivered a very strong set of results, ahead of previous expectations, demonstrating both resilience and growth," commented NWF Group chief executive Richard Whiting.

"Three acquisitions have been completed in Fuels and we have added significant additional warehouse capacity to support long-term customer contracts in Food.

"Feeds gained share with volume growth in a contracting market. The fundamental resilience of the group has been highlighted with the response to the Covid-19 crisis. Huge thanks must go to all our employees for their outstanding efforts in very challenging times.

"All our employees were designated as key workers, demand increased, deliveries to customers were completed and safe working and home working where possible were implemented in early March and remain effective today."