Wincanton has sold off its UK commercial vehicle repair and maintenance company, Pullman Fleet Services (PFS) to asset management firm Aurelius as it focuses on its more profitable core markets.

The sale of PFS follows its recent hiving off of its container business to Maritime for around £1.5m.

In a statement, the company said the market in which PFS operates “is such that contracts are smaller and carry demand risk, meaning it is not aligned with Wincanton’s core business model".

“As with Containers, PFS would require further investment in the near term and the sale allows Wincanton to focus on investing in areas offering higher returns.”

It added that the move would reduce the group's annual revenue by approximately £30m but lead to a small benefit in underlying pre-tax profit.

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The sale marks Wincanton’s exit from specialist services and leaves the group structured around four core markets: digital and e-fulfilment; grocery and consumer; general merchandise and public and industrial.

This strategy is backed up by its half-year results, for the six months to 30 September, which showed a 15.7% growth in digital and e-fulfilment as online demand increased.

Revenues for the period were £578.7m, down 2.4% compared with the first half of 2019 and pre-tax profit was £19.1m (£28.5m), which the group said was “delivered in the face of unprecedented disruption caused by Covid-19.”

James Wroath, Wincanton CEO, said: “The current environment strengthens our conviction that we are following the right strategy.

“The steps we have taken to refocus the group on growth markets, including disposing of our Pullman Fleet Services and our containers business, will underpin our ongoing performance.”

Wincanton added that during the period, the group received £12.4m in government grants for furloughing, of which £4.6m was passed to customers through open book mechanisms.