FowlerWelch side on

Turnover decreased by 1%, while pre-tax profit was static at Fowler Welch as it off-set the full year impact of the closure of its European operating base in the Netherlands with new contract wins and organic growth.

In the year-ending 31 March 2015 turnover at the Dart Group subsidiary fell to £151.7m (2014: £153.2m) but pre-tax profit was unchanged at £3.3m.

Its 500,000 ft² shared user storage and distribution site in Bury, Greater Manchester increased revenues by 6% year-on-year, while its Spalding, Lincolnshire site saw an 18% year-on-year improvement primarily due to the first full year of a new contract with a Danish-owned pork product processor.

However its refurbished Portmouth depot had what Dart Group described as a “mixed year” with contract wins and growth offset by the loss and associated closure costs of its Canary Islands tomatoes distribution contract.

Dart Group chairman Philip Meeson said: “We remain encouraged by the many business opportunities available to Fowler Welch. Though the marketplace remains extremely competitive, we believe that through its price-competitive, operational expertise, its dedication to achieving high service levels, and its ability to present customers with added value, innovative solutions, the outlook for Fowler Welch is encouraging.”

Meeson singled out its Teynham, Kent-based Integrated Service Solutions offering, which stores, ripens and packs stone, exotic and organic fruits as a “key strategic step” that would offer new business opportunities.

Fowler Welch increased the average number of trucks in operation year-on-year to 467, up from 450, and the average number of trailers to 655 from 640. Its fleet averaged 9.2mpg, compared to 8.9mpg in 2014 on an annual fleet mileage of 41.5 million miles, down slightly on 42.6 million miles in 2014.