Pre-tax profit at Fowler Welch rose 12.8% last year, as a result of improved vehicle efficiency, new business wins and volume growth from existing customers.

Parent company Dart Group revealed that pre-tax profit for Fowler Welch rose to £4.4m for the year ended 31 March 2013, up from £3.9m in 2011-12. It said this improvement was due to “organic volume growth and new business to offset any revenue losses”, while average miles per gallon increased slightly to 8.7, up from 8.6 the year before.

Turnover increased slightly to £155.2m, up from £152.4m the previous year.

It said its DC in Spalding, Lincolnshire, was operating at near capacity last year for its contracts with Kerry Foods, Bernard Matthews and Tulip, while it secured new business at its Heywood hub and DC in Teynham, Kent, in  Q1 2013-14. Its distribution contract with Mars has also been extended by two years.

The loss of its contract with Garcia has been largely offset as it secured more volume with two other customers at its Kent operations in Teynham and Paddock Wood.

Dart Group chief financial officer, Gary Brown, said: “Synergistic growth within the existing capacity of Fowler Welch, coupled with the benefits of improved cost control will generate improved gross and net margins in the year ahead.”

Dart Group also revealed that it also secured a long term lease at Fowler Welch’s Hilsea site near Portsmouth, allowing it to offer more warehousing and distribution services from the site.