Reed Boardall execs

The Reed Boardall Group has defied rising costs and fierce competition in the transport sector to deliver a 13% rise in underlying pre-tax profit.

Reporting its latest annual results to 31 March 2019, the Yorkshire-based cold storage and distribution business unveiled a 3.85% rise in underlying turnover to £62.8m from £61.6m.

The company said: “Turnover increased by 1.89% compared to the previous year but 2018 was slightly longer than 2019 due to the inclusion of an extra week. The increase in turnover was around 3.85% after adjusting for this difference.”

There was a 13.17% leap in underlying pre-tax profit to £970,057  after adjusting for a £527,658 rates rebate in the previous year. In 2018 pre-tax profit was £1.4m.

The company added: “Profit before taxation was lower than 2018 but the previous year included a rates refund. After adjusting for this item the profit is 13.17% higher.”

The family firm also struggled  to control costs which rose 3.3% to £56m (2018: £54.2m). It invested £2m in new trailers in September 2018 and has reduced the average age of its truck fleet to less than three years.

In the year to 31 March 2017 pre-tax profit plunged 80% to £840,646 from £4.2m due to the loss of a major customers including Aunt Bessie's and Richmond Foods and increased costs. Long-serving MD Tom Cassells resigned in 2015 to take up an advisory role with competitor NewCold.

Reed Boardall said turnover in 2018/19 was boosted by higher volumes in its 142,000 pallet capacity cold store and in its transport operation and the provision of increased ancillary services to existing customers.

“This, together with rising use of its ancillary blast freezing, picking and packing services, has helped the company to improve its financial performance compared with the previous year,” the group added.

Turnover in the cold storage rose from £44.8m (2018: £43.5m). However transport services turnover remained flat at £17.65 m with vehicle servicing turnover falling to £334,657 from £451,245 in the previous year.

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Marcus Boardall, recently promoted to chief executive of The Reed Boardall Group and son of chairman Keith Boardall, said: “While continued tough competition has made it difficult to recover increased costs, with more than 25 years’ experience behind us, we have established a sound formula for success.

“An integrated cold storage and transport service from a single site, together with our experienced team, mean that we are able to run a cost-effective operation while maintaining the high levels of service our customers expect.

He added: “We are continuing to invest in our people, premises and fleet to ensure that we remain a reliable and responsive logistics partner, trusted by the leading names in the food sector.”

Sarah Roberts, group finance director, pictured with Marcus Boardall, said: “It is encouraging to see another year of improvement and we are confident that our next financial year will show further growth as we have seen high levels of demand over the last nine months.

“We remain the UK’s largest consolidator of frozen food and have some exciting plans for next year, with investment and innovation at the heart of our business strategy.”

Reed Boardall, which operates a 170-strong fleet of vehicles, is one of the UK’s largest temperature controlled food distribution businesses in the UK.

The family firm, which operates a fleet of 170 vehicles, moves an average of 12,000 pallets a day and stores around £100m of products on behalf of its customers. It employs over 750 staff at its Boroughbridge site in Yorkshire.