Suttons Group has said that its most recent financial year was one of 'progress and challenges', as it embedded its purchase of Imperial Tankers into its UK business.

Turnover in continuing operations for the year-ending 30 April 2015 rose to £176.2m, from £146.5m in the previous year. Pre-tax profit however fell to £6.7m from £9.4m.

Suttons said that the £26.9m turnover increase was primarily a result of its acquisitions. It bought Imperial Tankers, the bulk chemical transport arm of Hargreaves, in September 2014 for exactly the same figure, while its international division also acquired IS Logistics in Singapore.

The group said that the acquisition of Imperial, in tandem with a new contract that started just after the purchase, almost doubled the size of its UK tankers operation.

Breaking down its performance geographically Suttons Transport Group derived £98.7m of its turnover from UK operations – up from £85.4m in the previous year. Turnover derived from international operations was up to £77.5m, from £71.6m.

CEO John Sutton said: “It’s been a year of mixed fortunes for the group. We have seen successes and progress in some areas and challenges in others. We are pleased that we have been able to complete some significant investments across the business, which will enable us to continue to provide the highest service standards in the markets in which we operate and expand the range of those services that we can provide to our customers.”

However Sutton warned that in the coming financial year he expected “substantial challenges” for both its UK and international business, but he believed that investments in and appointments at the business would meet such challenges.

Former Wincanton chief executive Graeme McFaull was appointed as chairman at the business in January.

The company also revealed that it had spent £9.7m on a new operating and planning systems in its tankers and international divisions, alongside a major asset replacement programme of its ISO tanks, trucks and road barrels.