The acquisition of ARR Craib helped boost Gregory Distribution Holdings profits last year and offset the impact of a bad debt acquired after a major customer went bust.

The company, which is one of the largest privately owned hauliers in the UK, is a member of both Palletline and Palletways and employs almost 2,500 staff.

It operates from 35 locations including depots in Exeter, Plymouth, Shepton Mallet, Cullompton, Bristol, Birmingham, Aberdeen, Stockton-on-Tees, Great Yarmouth and Cumbernauld and is part of a group that includes Hayton Coulthard Transport and ARR Craib Transport.

Reporting its latest annual results for the year to 28 September 2019, Gregory Distribution revealed a 37% rise in turnover to £239m (2018: £174m) with profits up by 40% to £8m (2018: £5.7m).

Its 50% joint venture with Hayton Coulthard Transport fared less well in the period, with pre-tax profits falling by more than half to £18,000 (2018: £48,000).

In its strategic report to the results the company said the acquisition of ARR Craib Transport, which will continue to trade under its own brand, had brought an additional £50m turnover and strengthened the group’s position in Scotland.

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In the directors' report to the results, the company added that ARR Craib’s acquisition of Highland Haulage in November last year will further increase its presence in Scotland, “particularly in the Palletline network”.

The report noted that the company had been “impacted” by the administration of British Ceramic Tile, a “significant long standing customer” which it said led to a one-off bad debt.

While the debt is not revealed, the results reveal an impairment loss of £3.1m “recognised against trade debtors in the period”.

The strategic report makes no mention of the potential impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the firm, despite the group cutting 100 jobs in May this year, which at the time was attributed to “difficulties” faced by its customers brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

However it does state that the company had overcome a “number of challenges” in the year adding that it is confident it can overcome “inevitable future challenges as well as realising future opportunities.”

The company has yet to respond to a request for comment.