Eddie Stobart Logistics' growth continued at a gallop in the first six months to 31 May 2018, driven by a mix of acquisitions, new contract wins and retained business.

Turnover increased by more than a quarter (25.3%) in the period to £359.3m (2017: £286.8m).

The operator’s acquisitions continued to perform strongly – iForce sales increased 20% and Speedy Freight’s by 52% in the period - but organic growth was robust too.

Eddie Stobart Logistics said it had seen strong growth across three of its four key sectors, with retail up 28% year-on-year; manufacturing, industrial and bulk up 13%; and e-commerce 118% ahead.

Its consumer sector turnover was 6% lower compared with the same period of last year due to the loss of its Britvic contract. However, the operator won this back from rival Wincanton in May. Contract renewals in the six month period were valued at £113m.

Wrestling back Cemex from rival Wincanton was a business highlight during the first half of the year but it also has a pipeline of wins that will be recognised in full in its 12 month results. These include a new deal with aggregates supplier Tarmac and taking on PepsiCo’s previously in-house distribution operation, as well as deals with Homebase and Knauf.

Eddie Stobart Logistics put the value of new contract wins, year to date, at £158m.

Read more

The operator’s pre-tax profit increased 122.2% to £1.4m, compared with a loss of £6.3m in the same period a year ago.

Exceptional items in the six month period were £4.4m, of this the majority (£3.9m) related to acquisitions. Adjusted pre-tax profit for the period, which strips out exceptional items, was £14.1m (2017: £10.5m).

“We are pleased to have delivered a strong first-half performance as we continue to implement our strategy of becoming a leading provider of end-to-end supply chain solutions,” said Alex Laffey, chief executive of Eddie Stobart Logistics.

The company has announced an interim dividend of 1.54p per share, and highlighted that the second part of its trading year is traditionally its strongest business period.

On the 29 June the operator purchased The Pallet Network in a £52.8m deal that caused a stir in the pallet network sector.

Turnover by sector – six months to 31 May 2018
  • Retail £102m (£80m) 27.5% increase
  • Consumer £70m (£75m) 6.2% decrease
  • Manufacturing, industrial, bulk £92m (£81m) 13.2% increase
  • E-commerce £80m (£37m) 118% increase
  • Non sector specific £15.3m (£14.3m) 7% increase

Total: £359m, increase of 25.3% year on year