Paul Ibbetson, CEO, DX (Group) plc

Parcel freight and logistics provider DX Group appears to be sailing into calmer waters this week with the appointment of industry veteran Paul Ibbetson as chief executive and a trading update that reveals a 15% revenue rise in the six months to 31 December 2022.

Ibbetson brings decades of experience to his new role, having spent over 10 years as operations director at Tuffnells Parcel Express before joining DX in 2017 as MD of its freight division.

His appointment, which takes immediate effect, sees him take over the role from Mark Hammond who becomes non-executive chairman.

Ibbetson will retain responsibility for the management of DX Freight in the short-term until a new appointment is made.

The group praised Ibbetson for his pivotal role in transforming DX’s loss making freight division into a profitable, dynamic and cash generating entity. He also oversaw the division’s restructuring, including the sales and commercial functions.

“Paul has been an important member of the DX senior management team since he joined the Group in 2017," said Hammond.

“He has a very strong record of success and is highly regarded by his colleagues. We are delighted to welcome him as DX’s new chief executive officer and are confident in his ability to lead and shape the group’s ongoing growth.”

Added Ibbetson: “I am delighted to take up the role of chief executive officer. I believe that DX is in a strong position to build on the firm foundations that have been established over the last five years and has further significant growth opportunities ahead of it.

“We have a highly experienced and talented team, and I look forward to working alongside all my colleagues and the board to drive the next stage of DX’s development.”

In its latest trading update for the 26 weeks ended 31 December 2022, DX Group said trading was strong with group revenue approximately 15% ahead of the first half of the previous financial year.

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It added: “Customer supply chain issues have normalised, labour market pressures have eased, and costs have been managed effectively. The board remains confident that the group is well-positioned to meet its expectations for the financial year despite the economic headwinds, as it enters the second half of the year.”

DX said its financial position remains strong with net cash at the period end totalling £36.4m (1 January 2022: £14.5m) and a £20m invoice discounting facility which has not been drawn on, which DX said gives the group “significant levels of headroom”.

Both DX Freight and DX Express contributed to revenue growth and improved their margins compared to the same period last year, aided by operational improvements and price increases.

New business at both divisions in the period continued to be healthy with a strong pipeline of new business opportunities, the update added.

DX said it is also continuing to expand its depot networks with four new depots opened in the past six months and a further two new depots planned in next six months, with another three depots set to relocate to larger premises.

DX’s interim results are expected to be announced at the end of February 2023.

These latest trading results will be welcome news at the group which is emerging from a troubled period which saw chairman Ron Series resign last year.

His departure followed shareholders criticism of his handling of a corporate governance enquiry into the group which resulted in the resignation of the company’s auditors; a delay of almost 12 months in publication of DX’s accounts; its shares being suspended and around £1.3m of expenses.

The inquiry found DX had failed to take sufficient disciplinary action against employees who had offered a bribe for confidential competitor information and there was evidence that confidential competitor information was obtained “over a period of time”.

Series was replaced by Hammond, a former chairman of Tuffnells Parcels Express.