Willenhall-based express delivery firm Aspray24 has attributed a fall in profitability last year to the introduction of the Driver CPC and driver shortages.

Turnover in the year to the end of December 2014 rose 8.8% to £35.9m (2013: £32.9m) but profit before tax fell just over 20% to £1.07m (£1.35m).

MD Stuart Laight was not available for comment at the time of writing but in their financial report on the year, the firm’s directors said: “Growth plans for the next five years were considerably altered during the latter half of 2014 with underlying margins severely affected, principally due to the introduction of the DCPC in September 2014.

“The driver market, in both numbers and quality, fell considerably and we resolved to reassess all areas of our business with acceptance of short tem costs and market share pain which has been undertaken for long term stability for improvement in returns,” they added.

During the year, the firm employed an average of 760 staff, up almost 90 on the previous year. Total staff costs came to £15.5m (2013: £14.5m).

Despite the fall in profit, the firm, which runs over 400 vehicles, still generated a relatively healthy 2.9% profit margin during 2014 (2013: 4.08%).