Whistl saw a leap in pre-tax profit in its first full-year results since the MBO that saw it separated from its PostNL origins.

For the year ended 31 December 2016, Whistl recorded pre-tax profit of £8.4m; a 145% increase on 2015’s loss of £18.7m.

Chief executive Nick Wells said this was a result of the hit Whistl took from the collapse of its final mile delivery operation, which cost the business £10m before its investor LDC withdrew.

Wells told Motortransport.co.uk that the 2015 loss was “a one-off hit only associated with the end-to-end. Just an anomaly”.

The £18.7m loss included around 2,000 redundancies and asset write-offs, but Wells said the business had begun 2016 with a fresh start.

Wells said: “We are really pleased with our first set of results since the MBO in 2015.

“Our attention to cost efficiency and excellent customer service underpins these results and reflects the efforts of everyone within the company.”

The company’s turnover fell 4%, from £554m to £528m.

On this Wells said: “The reduction included the ffect of the closure of Whistl’s final mile delivery activities in 2015 with the consequent loss of mail volumes associated with the service, together with a change in the price and mix of processed volume.

“Revenue was also lowered by an increase in customers choosing to appoint Whistl as agent, rather than principal, which reduces revenue but has no impact on volume or profitability.”

In its strategic report, Whistl said it had increased its spending on growth opportunities by 46% in 2016.

This included spending on IT and infrastructure, as well as reviewing its fleet HGV and van leases and taking on 100 new tractor units.

Whistl added that it expected to see a final decision from Ofcom on the ongoing investigation into whether Royal Mail breached competition law in 2015.

Nick Wells previously accused Royal Mail of “screwing” Whistl with price increases, and blamed the move for the failure of Whistl’s final mile endeavour.