Owens Group enjoyed yet another year of significant growth in 2018, with turnover rising 27% to £70.5m.

The company said the growth follows a similar pattern to previous years and stemmed from opportunities arising from both existing and new customers.

Pre-tax profit for the period ending 30 June 2018 was £1.6m (£2.2m), although gross profit was up slightly to £9m (£8.7m).

In its review of the business, Owens Group said margins had been squeezed even further this year as the business had funded a significant element of its growth through the profit and loss account.

It added that the steel and pallet network sectors in which it operates have remained strong and it will continue to invest in these areas in anticipation of further growth.

However it said that it now intends to “consolidate our position and focus on improving efficiencies and ultimately gross margin”.

In the weeks following the end of the trading period last year, the company purchased BTS Haulage in Greater Manchester, creating a group that operates a fleet of more than 550 vehicles, although BTS continues to operate as a standalone business.

The review said: “The directors are delighted with this acquisition and are confident that the group as a whole will see significant benefit in the long term as the new depot will provide a strategic foothold for us in the North of England.”

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Into 2019

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Owens said the group had continued to experience "buoyant demand" in the current trading year, which ends on 30 June 2019. It expects to report further growth in the region of 20% (excluding the impact of BTS Haulage).

This growth is largely as a result of increased demand from existing customers together with the full year impact of the new contracts secured in 2018, the company said.

Profit margins are expected to increase for the year ending 30 June 2019, but the overall consolidated results will be adversely affected by losses incurred by BTS, the haulier added.

"BTS has now been fully integrated within the group and it has also increased its activity following the acquisition and, more importantly, it has returned to profitability in 2019.

"The improvement in BTS’ profitability reflects a number of actions and initiatives undertaken following the acquisition which included terminating loss-making contracts and improving the productivity of the fleet.

"Significant investment has also been made in the BTS workforce and on-site facilities and support functions have been moved to the group’s central support functions," the company said in a statement.

Huw Owen, MD of Owens Group, added: “I am delighted by the progress achieved by the group over the last two years in moving towards our strategic goal of reaching the milestone of £100m turnover.

"Whilst our investment during the year ended 30 June 2018 in implementing new contracts and developing our management and support infrastructure had an impact on our profit margins I am confident that profitability will increase in the current year and that the group is well placed to achieve further growth in both turnover and profits.”