Ceva MAN

Ceva has singled out the performance of its business in the UK for having a "very strong year" in 2011 after the Netherlands-based logistics giant revealed a 10% rise in profit.

Speaking to MT.co.uk, Leigh Pomlett, president for Northern Europe at Ceva, singled out delivery from the UK and Poland as "two countries that have performed" as, globally, the firm saw revenue rise just 0.7% to €6.8bn (£5.6bn)for the year ending 31 December 2011. EBITDA rose 9.9%, when accounting for exchange rates, to €321m (£267.9m) from €292m in the previous year.

Pomlett says the group has "learned to live with a world that is not going to help us very much".

"We are managing the business much more efficiently than we have done in previous times and costs are under control. In recessionary times opportunities do not disapear. You might not get the help from the volumes but there are opportunities where customers are looking at efficiencies themselves," he explains. "But it is more competitive whenvolumes are down in the market place."

Ceva says it had a retention rate of 90% for exisiting customers, globally, and it has increased its new business pipeline by 17%. Pomlett says the firm has been "particularly strong" with technology and industrial customers.

However Pomlett is less enthusiastic about traditional seasonal spikes in the market: "It was not a peaky Christmas. Some did not peak at all. Some did but overall Christmas was not healthy in terms of volumes."

But Pomlett expects a peak in the summer: "The Olympics will drive a peak for my business in the summer, and the European business will look for a peak from the European football championships in Poland.

"We have actually started our Olympic Games operations with one of our warehouses in the south-east to deliver products into the Games. That will give us some experience but it is only an experience and it will be a test for us all because of the considerations of [operating] in London. It is something we will have to watch very carefully."