Owens (Road Services) said investment in its depot network and a focus on steel transportation, helped boost its turnover and profit in its most recent financial year.

In consolidated accounts for the year ended June 2014, the Dafen, Llanelli-based operator posted turnover up 6.1% to £38.5m (2013: £36.3m) and a pre-tax profit up 9.6% to £884,200 (2013: £806,503).

Company secretary Robert Williams told MT continual investment in steel transportation was a priority for Owens, as one of the largest independent carriers of steel in the UK.

“We are the only carrier of note in south Wales. This situation has built up over many years and is down to investment in specialist trailers and driver training and the degree of trust and interdependence that a long-established relationship brings,” he said.

Investments made in new depots in key locations in previous years are also coming to fruition, Williams added, allowing the business to meet service levels from its FMCG customers, while demand for warehousing increases.

The firm invested in its IT and fleet, as well as expanding its Palletforce business, while its ATF (opened in March 2013) is proving beneficial, said Williams, internally and as a source of external revenue.

Owens also bought an investment property in Port Talbot through wholly owned subsidiary ORS Contract Management for £4.6m, which has been leased out on a long-term arrangement.

A competitive market, coupled with driver shortages and seasonal fluctuations in demand – “Christmas 2014 was exceptional in this regard” – were the main challenges facing the business last year, Williams added. To combat this, Owens continued with its 'cost-down' activities and a focus on driver training.

Williams said: “We are very optimistic for the future based on strategic investment, efficiency, customer service–led innovation and a modicum of hard work.”