tim@timandrew.com (c)2011 Tim Andrew

Turnover and profit both rose by some 12% last year at Newmarket, Suffolk-based Turners (Soham), as a prudent approach to rates and new business continued to pay off.

In the 12 months to 31 December 2011, turnover jumped 11.9% to just under £235m (2010: £210m); while pre-tax profit rose 12.5% to £24.3m (2010: £21.6m).

All three of the firm's divisions enjoyed a significant boost during the period, with turnover up 7.69% in the temperature controlled division, 10.63% in the general haulage and container division, and 15.3% in the tanker division.

The firm also increased its headcount during the year from 2,198 to 2,260 staff, while the vehicle count rose from 1,033 to 1,100 trucks.

Commenting on the results, Turners (Soham) MD Paul Day said: "There’s no magic – we’re just trying to operate in the most efficient way we can. The market is very volatile at the moment and has never been harder."

Growth at Turners (Soham) is down to "winning business in a sensible way and being selective," added Day.

The firm’s high profitability was also due to a lack of debt and related payments, thanks to the firm owning most of its own sites and trucks outright and having an unusually high asset base, he suggested. "Turners will always make a bit more [than other hauliers] because we’ve been left with our own money, rather than borrowing it," he said.

Commenting on the current year, Day said he didn’t see it being quite so good as 2011. "It’s tougher than last year and I don’t see anything coming along to improve it. I’m very happy with it, but I don’t think we’ll see the growth we saw in 2011," he said.

Integration of Turners’ two recent acquisitions - Walker Transport Services and Browns Chilled Distribution – is proceeding smoothly, confirmed Day, though these will take time to feed through to the firm’s annual figures, he stressed. "They are medium term projects - but both are going very well."