Eddie Stobart saw turnover and earnings grow in the first six months of its financial year, but the cost of refinancing, its stock market listing and the end of an Irish retail contract resulted in a pre-tax loss.

Having completed an initial public offering (IPO) on the Alternative Investment Market in April, the haulier saw revenue climb 7.7% to £287m (2016: £266.4m) in the six months to 31 May 2017.

Underlying turnover growth, which strips out the end of the loss-making Irish retail contract and adds back in expenses relating to intangible assests and exceptional items (the majority relating to the IPO and refinancing) was 13% in the period.

Stobart said it had achieved £25m of new annualised contract wins during the period, with the majority of the benefit due in the second half of its trading year.

It is making a play for business in the e-commerce space, having purchased iForce for £44.9m earlier this year, and the manufacturing, industrial and bulk sector. This, the company said in its results statement, had seen a slight decline in turnover from its retail division.

Eddie Stobart recorded exceptional items of £6.6m in the period, £3.7m of this was associated with the IPO, approaching half a million in regards to the purchase of iForce. The remainder were legal and restructuring costs relating to the discontinuation of its retail contract in Ireland.

The haulier made a pre-tax loss of £6.3m in the period compared with a £1.7m profit a year earlier. However, if exceptions and the Irish business are stripped out, EBIT for the six months was 14.9% higher at £16.9m.

Eddie Stobart chief executive Alex Laffey said: "Following our successful IPO in April this year, we have delivered a strong performance in line with our expectations.

“The acquisition of iForce Group is integrating well and has provided a strong platform to develop our e-commerce offer to existing and new customers. Our focus is on leveraging cross-selling opportunities with existing customers, implementing synergies and developing new business.”

It has also announced a maiden dividend of 1.4p per share.

The Logistics People

Having purchased half of Speedy Freight in July, Eddie Stobart today announced it had acquired the remaining 50% stake in recruitment company The Logistics People for £5m (climbing to £6m based on agreed profit targets).

In January 2016 Stobart had purchased 50% of the Kettering-based business, which was set up in 2014 by Carl Stairs and offers jobs and training.

Segmental turnover

Road transport £199.3m (2016: £192m)

Contract logistics & warehousing £49.1m (2016: 45.5m)

EU transport £19.9m (2016: £18.8m)

Sector turnover

Retail £80m (2016: £84.2m)

Consumer £74.7m (2016: £71.4m)

Manufacturing, industrial and bulk £80.9m (2016: £66.3m)

E-commerce £36.9m (2016: £26m)

Non-sector specific £14.3m (2016: £18.5m)