Norbert Dentressangle has reported a 9.1% increase in pre-tax profit on the back of an 8.5% increase in annual turnover for 2012.

Group earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) came to €142m (£122m) during the year on turnover of €3.8bn.

Turnover from transport came to €2bn (up 3.7%), the logistics division generated €1.78bn (up 12.2%), and freight forwarding brought in €143m (up 67%).

In terms of operating profit, however, the transport division enjoyed a 27% rise while the logistics division saw a fall of 3.2%.

Commenting on the results, ND chief executive Hervé Montjotin said the group had turned in a solid performance despite a “worsening and volatile economic environment”.

Montjotin told MT the big rise in transport operating profit had been generated by “exceptional one-off profits and the way we have managed the business after the [TDG] acquisition”.

On the logistics side, the slight fall in profit was due to a high baseline the previous year and some performance problems in the group’s Belgian operation related to a loss-making business inherited from TDG.

“That’s something we have already addressed. We have a strong recovery plan in progress and are aiming to break even in Belgium next year,” he said.

Looking ahead, Montjotin said the current financial year was largely panning out along similar lines. “I think the economic context will be very similar, and that’s what we have experienced in the first two months – no fresh downturn, but no upturn either.”

"A 22% reduction in the group’s net debt during 2012 has left it ND in a strong position to develop further growth, however. “We have enhanced our strategic position and on that basis, we can either grow by organic means or take any acquisition that comes onto the market,” said Montjotin.

The UK is now ND’s second biggest market, accounting for 32% of total turnover.