Wm Armstrong (Longtown) managed to boost pre-tax profit in 2020/21 in the face of a variety of challenges, including its Authorised Testing Facility being forced to cease trading due to DVSA cancelling testing during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.

The Carlisle-based company, which has operating licences for 178 trucks and 385 trailers, has two subsidiaries - Cumbria Truck Centre and Armstrong Trucks. It specialises in general haulage and distribution, livestock transport, specialist tanker haulage and is a founder member of Palletforce.

Its latest annual results to 31 March 2021 revealed that group turnover fell to £33.3m (2020: £33.8m) whilst pre-tax profit rose to £479,000 (2020: £287,000) in the period.

In its strategic report to the results the company revealed that whilst its milk haulage operations and livestock transport operations continued as normal through the pandemic, there was a reduction in revenue in its general haulage and palletised goods divisions, due to some customers closing their businesses.

Measures taken by the group to minimize the impact of the pandemic included taking HP payment holidays for a short period. In Q3 it also arranged a Coronavirus CBILS top up of the company’s invoice finance facility for a period of three years to preserve cash, which has yet to be utilized.

Improvements to its Uddington warehouse during the period also resulted in Wm Armstrong landing a long-term lease for offices and warehouse space.

The company’s dealership, Cumbria Truck Centre, realised a profit before tax of £172,567 (2020: £96,531) in the period, despite the company being “severely impacted” during the pandemic with its ATF forced to cease trading due to DVSA cancelling testing. However, the ATF has reopened during the current year with MOT testing at “normal levels”, the report added.

Wm Armstrong’s other subsidiary, Armstrong Trucks also produced a pre-tax profit of £37,984, up from £30,626 in the previous year, despite its newly opened Uddington workshop seeing workload plummet within three weeks of its March 2020 launch due to the pandemic.

The subsidiary, which offers HGV and trailer servicing and repairs and MOTs, furloughed some of its workshop workers during the first two quarters of the financial year 2020/21 but by Q3 it had returned to a “new increased level of business,” the report said.

WM Armstrong has yet to respond for a request for comment.