Boughey Distribution enjoyed a solid year of growth despite cut-throat competition amongst the supermarkets, with its Palletline operation growing faster than expected.

Boughey, which is part of the NWF Group, saw turnover in the year to 31 May 2017 increase 3.7% to £39m (2016: £37.6m).

Storage overall was at an average of 97,000 pallets (2016: 97,000 pallets), reflecting the full-year benefit of customers won in the prior year and organic customer growth. This offset lower contracted volumes from a major customer.

Operating profit increased by 11.1% to £3.0m (2016: £2.7 million) at Boughey, which the operator said was a consequence of increased activity, improved backload revenue and increased Palletline activity.

Boughey said it had storage capacity available at its Wardle site and had increased its business development activity to fill this space during 2018.

“The business has operated efficiently with its warehouses remaining full throughout the year, and the business responded effectively to increased demand for our customers' products measured in out-loads, while service levels have been maintained at 99.7%,” the company stated in its full-year results.

The Palletline operation in Cheshire – set up in 2015 – “has developed ahead of expectations” and the operator said it had deployed more resources to service it. As a consequence, Boughey said it is looking to grow this part of its business.

Boughey said it would be adding more Mercedes-Benz trucks to its fleet in the coming months, having been impressed with the performance of an initial batch of the vehicles.

NWF Group turnover for the year, which includes contributions from its feeds and fuels businesses, was £555.8m (2016: £465.9m) while pre-tax profit was £6.7m (2016: £6m).

The company’s board has recommended a final dividend for shareholders of 5p per share, giving a total dividend for the year of 6p per share.