A decision to refocus the business in 2017 has put RT Keedwell Holdings in a stronger position to weather the Covid-19 pandemic, MD Jon White told this week.

The Highbridge, Somerset-based based haulage company, which specialises in the construction and infrastructure, general haulage and packaging sectors, operates a fleet of 425 vehicles and employs 550 staff, including 450 drivers. It has 11 depots, with seven in England, one in Wales and three in Scotland.

In its latest annual results to 31 October 2019, the company reported a rise in revenue to £42.7m (2018: £42.2m). However pre-tax profit fell to £63,672 (2018: £380,753).

In the strategic report to the results, the company said the fall in profit was partly attributable to 2018 profits being boosted by the sale of property.

It added that the board is “confident it is starting to reverse the group’s declining profitability”.

Speaking to MD Jon White said: “The market is very tough, particularly with the impact of Covid-19 on the construction sector but we are just about keeping our nose in front - the fact that we were already in the process of rationalising costs, choosing work which is much better fit for us and consolidating some areas means we will come out of this in a much better position.”

Read more

White took on the role of MD after a management restructure following the death of company founder Ray Keedwell in June 2017. Ray’s son Stuart Keedwell is the company's chairman.

White said that the company has intensified its focus on the construction and infrastructure market since 2018, which makes up 60% of the business, whilst still maintaining its presence in general haulage, packaging and paper, which White described as “the oil in the machine”.

It currently has two major contracts at the Hinckley Point C nuclear power station – one with Balfour Beatty and another with the Nuclear New Build Generation Company – as the preferred freight consolidation provider for major contractors on the site.

White added: “We are a strong player in the construction sector which is our dominant sector and we have recently had some good contract wins.

“Our turnover will increase this year and since May/June we have been operating more efficiently than we have for two or three years and so I am comfortable about where we are right now and where we are taking the business.”

Looking ahead White said: “It is about where we want to be. We have always had a solid reputation in the industry and so our aim is to continue to improve operationally, to get closer to our customers."

He added: “We want to refocus on what we do well. It is hard to say no sometimes but if the work is not right it is just not worth it.”