Pall-Ex has completed a sale and leaseback deal on its central hub, leaving the group debt free, The Hub can reveal.

The deal was revealed in the network’s latest published accounts for the year ended 31 January 2014.

At that point, the pallet network had group debt of £8.7m, however in response to The Hub's enquiry, a spokeswoman for Pall-Ex said: “The Pall-Ex group sold its Leicestershire-based UK national hub property under a sale and leaseback arrangement in October 2014.

“Following this deal, the group is now debt-free and has surplus funds available for future strategic investments within the UK and Europe.”

The company’s annual accounts reveal group turnover – excluding a nominal contribution from a few group-owned businesses unrelated to transport - increased to £64.9m (2013: £58.2m) in the year to 31 January 2014.

As part of this, its network of six licensed hubs in mainland Europe made a turnover contribution of £266,000 (a 100% increase on 2013’s £133,000).

It should also be noted that turnover between networks is rarely calculated on the same basis – it isn’t a case of apples and apples. While some networks report pure hub turnover, others include something more akin to total network turnover or sales (different networks have different ownership structures too).

Neither is wrong, but observe the significant difference in turnover compared with Palletline’s recent performance; The Hub would suggest Pall-Ex isn’t 3.7-times bigger than its rival in terms of pallets moved.

Pall-Ex had a pre-tax profit that was largely unchanged year-on-year at £2.2m (2013: £2.4m) – and one that is within the same magnitude as Palletline, by way of underlying the above observation.

Pall-Ex group MD Kevin Buchanan recently set out his stall in regards where he plans to take the network. On this evidence he inherits a business that he should have plenty of opportunity to shape.