Palletforce enjoyed a strong 2013, with volume up in the second half of its financial year as the UK economy emerged from its long slumber.

Following on from a strong performance at rival The Pallet Network, and a year to forget for UK Pallets, Palletforce saw turnover climb in the year ended 31 August 2013, according to its latest accounts published just earlier this month.

It’s part of the reason that it has just paid a special dividend of an eye-catching £5m to its 86 shareholder haulier members (made up of a standard annual dividend of around £1m, with the rest drawn from cash accumulated within the business).

Pallet volumes stood at almost 2.3 million for the year were up some 6% on 2012. This generated network fees of £11.3m (2012: £10.6m), pushing hub turnover up by 15% to £14.7m (£12.8m).

Overall gross profit after cost of sales increased 9% to a handsome £9.4m (2012: £8.7m).

Network turnover (delivery revenue), was £48.6m (2012: £46.5m), while total network revenue – representing the pallet network’s operation in its totality – increased 6.8% to £63.3m compared with £59.3m a year ago.

However, there was one sting in the tail: Palletforce’s rent bill increased by £1m during the year. The increase was planned for as it was part of the original lease negotiators for its hub in Burton-upon-Trent, which it moved into in 2009. However it remains a fair old wallop to mitigate for any business.

Despite this, pre-tax profit was still £2.6m pretty much unchanged from the previous year, and retained profit grew enabling the payment of that very special dividend.