Fred Sherwood invests in Renault Trucks

Pre-tax profit almost halved at Fred Sherwood and Sons (Transport) last year, largely due to depreciation charges on asset values, fuel price rises and the falling value of sterling.

In its latest published accounts, for the year ended 31 March 2017, pre-tax profit dropped more than 48% to £672,000 (2016: £1.3m), despite a £120,512 write-back against subsidiaries. In the same period, turnover fell over 5% to £34.7m (2016: £36.7m).

The results also revealed that the Shepshed, Leicestershire-based company increased its fleet spending to £3.7m (2016: £2.2m) as part of an ongoing fleet upgrade, with the firm reporting a rise in the value of net assets in the period to £20.6m (2016: £245,928).

Fred Sherwood and Sons also increased its driver training and technology spending with staff training costs almost doubling to £16,032 (2016: £7,471) in the period.

In the strategic report to the results Fred Sherwood and Sons said that the fall in revenue was mainly in haulage sales, which fell to £22.9m (2016: £24.1m), and diesel revenue, which dropped to £5.7m (2016: £6.2m). It added that since the company had anticipated the fall in revenue it had scaled down its fleet “slightly” in the year.

The report attributed the drop in the operator's profit margins largely to “increased depreciation charges due to the level of asset resale values, pressures on pay rates and the increasing fuel prices due to the fall in the value of the pound”.

It added that the company had focused spending on driver training and technology during the year to “achieve efficiencies, reduce the risk of incidents and reduce its environmental impact” adding that the directors were “pleased with the progress made” in these areas during the period.

Fred Sherwood & Sons (Transport) incorporates Fred Sherwood (Shepshed); recycling transport firm Bulk Transport (Midlands); grain haulier George Varney (Bulk Services); aggregates firms Bulk Minerals and Bulk Recycling; dry cargo transport firms Kwik Freight; and KJ Transport.

It also includes storage division Sherwood Self Store; workshop Sherwood Commercial Vehicle Repair Centre; Junction 23 Lorry Park; and vehicle livery and sign writing division, Elliott Signs.

The company chose not to publish the annual turnover and profit of its subsidiaries in its annual results this year.