The first full year back in private ownership by Tuffnells Parcels Express saw an improvement in revenue for the irregular weight and dimensions delivery firm.

In the year ending 31 December 2021 the business reported a turnover of £178.1m, compared to £163.4m between January and December 2020. Pre-tax profit was £5.5m.

In a review of the business, the board said: “Coupled with strong, but sensible, cost controls, a drive to increase vehicle productivity and quality of service yielded a gross margin of 24.1% for the period January to December 2021, compared to 18.9% January to December 2020.

“Operating profit before exceptional items increased to £2.3m for 2021 from a loss of £9.1m for 2020.”

Looking ahead, the business said it expected volume and revenue growth as a result of service improvements, with profits following the same pattern.

Tuffnells’ management team bought the business for £15m in May 2020 – at the height of the Covid pandemic – six years after Smiths News Group acquired the firm for £100m in 2014. The management buyout was prompted by it experiencing years of poor performance under its previous owners.