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KNP Logistics Group, formerly known as Knights of Old Group, has climbed out of the red, delivering its first pre-tax profit in five years, despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The group, which includes hauliers Knights of Old, AE Parker, Nelson Distribution, NDL Holdings, Steve Porter Transport, and driver training firm Merlin Supply Chain Solutions, has fought to turn a profit since 2016.

However, in its latest annual results to 31 May 2021, the Kettering-based company revealed that it had transformed last year’s loss of £388,805 to a pre-tax profit of £1.2m in the period, with revenue leaping 15% to £76.5m (2020: £66.6m).

In its strategic report to the annual results the company said that, whilst the impact of the pandemic had been “considerable”, particularly hitting the group’s clients in the hospitality sector, “several of our customer markets have held up well during the pandemic, for example books and food”.

The group also reports “considerable success” in the contract distribution sector in the year with new contract wins of £3m per annum, adding that it is now “well positioned to secure significant additional business in the sector”.

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The company also praised both management and employees for responding “incredibly well” to the challenges of the pandemic.

The group, which operates over 350 trucks and 500 trailers and has 636 full-time employees, said that it had recently acquired a modern 139,000 sq ft warehouse and office accommodation, bringing its total warehousing capacity to 450,000 sq ft across the group.

Looking ahead, the strategic report said the group’s principal risks are the “very competitive” haulage market, the “weakening” retail sector and the “macro-economics of Brexit”.

However, the report remains upbeat, stating: “Based on the actions taken to date and the further initiatives presently being undertaken, the board has full confidence in the group’s ability to sustain its profitability and to regain the track record of balanced growth evident in prior years.”

A spokesperson for KNP told MT: “These results are in line with expectations as forecast this time last year. This is a very pleasing result that comes from the commitment and efforts made across the entire group. Turnover continues to rise and growth continues in our core areas and we look forward to continuing this trend.”