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A reduction in car registrations and uncertainty over Brexit led to a pre-tax loss of £480,000 at bimodal car transporter STVA UK in 2018.

The most recent set of available accounts for the company showed that in the year ending 31 December 2018, turnover also reduced by almost 20% to £21.7m.

The pre-tax loss during the period contrasted with a £156,000 profit during 2017.

In its review of the business, STVA UK, which is based in Bristol but also has operating centres in Southampton, Swindon, Widnes, Crewe, as well as in Scotland, said UK car registrations had fallen by 6.8% during the period, to 2.37m units.

It said: “The reduction in car registrations and the continued uncertainty over Brexit saw volumes drop by 28%.”

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The company said it was reliant on certain major motor manufacturers for contracts that were subject to periodic competitive tender and added: “Renewal of these contracts cannot be pre-determined and are based on financial and performance criteria.

“Whilst there is no substantial direct competitor for a rail-based service, there is considerable competition in the road haulage sector.”

STVA UK’s review also pointed out that its principal activity as a motor delivery agent was subject to a downturn in the new car market: “A further economic risk is that motor manufacturers could move their production facilities to more profitable manufacturing environments outside of the UK,” it said.

The company was approached for comment.