Chilled logistics specialist NFT Distribution was back in the black before it was acquired by new owner EmergeVest earlier in the year, posting a pre-tax profit of £1.6m in the 12 months ending 31 March 2014.

NFT had previously posted a loss of £5.8m, and turned around its profit performance in 2013/14 despite flat sales with turnover down slightly to £169.4m, compared to £169.7m in the preceding financial year.

Chief executive David Frankish said in his statement: “Whilst the economic climate has remained challenging, NFT’s market offering to provide value enhancing innovation at sustainable prices means that the business has continued to attract a significant number of new customers and extend its relationship with existing customers.”

He cited adjusted operating EBITDA as a “key performance measure” – which has risen from £4.2m in 2010, to £9.2m in 2014 (up from £8.1m in 2013).

On 11 April NFT’s original private equity backer, Phoenix Equity Partners, sold its entire shareholding to EmergeVest – a deal that came with a new integrated debt package of up to £42m, provided by Investec. Frankish described the fund as providing the business with “the necessary capital to support ambitious growth plans”.

Operational highlights

NFT’s shared user network – transport - delivered an average of 44,000 pallets per week from its six UK depots. It began trading with 12 new customers during the financial year.

Its shared user network – warehouse - saw weekly case picking activity increase by 10% to an average of 1.8 million cases per week. Meanwhile its open book division delivered over 66,000 primary pallets of fresh food every week.

Finally, it added 91 new jobs to the business, bringing the total number of employees up to 1,947.