Operators upbeat

London, UK: Many of the UK’s large temperature-controlled operators are sounding an optimistic note for 2011 and next year, reports Cold Chain News,  September issue, out now.

The upbeat assessment comes despite the gloomy economic backdrop.  NFT, for example, saw turnover rise from £127.7m to March 2010 to £140.9m for the year ending March 2011.  The company also went from a pre-tax loss of £54,000 to a £1.4m profit.

The outlook is bright though, says NFT chief executive, David Frankish.  Significant investment across the business has provided a real catalyst for growth and 2010/11 was one of our best years yet, demonstrating the benefits of focusing on our strategy to drive growth and value from our core market. 2012 will see further investment in our business, helping us to achieve growth targets and keeping us at the cutting edge of our industry.”

NFT chief executive David Frankish: "2010/11 was one of our best years yet"

NFT has signed a new lease for an 8,361sq metre depot in Middleton, Greater Manchester, replacing its existing operations in Whitefield, near Bury.

Spalding-based Fowler Welch saw turnover rise from £112.4m in 2009 to £119.8m in 2010. Managing director Nick Hay says: “2010 was an exciting year in the continuing development of Fowler Welch. The company’s chill business continued to perform well, growing both organically and with new clients. The outlook for 2012 looks positive: our ongoing investment in people, systems and infrastructure will facilitate our clients’ growth and provide ongoing efficiencies geared towards our drive for lowest cost to operate.

Even though the Yearsley group saw turnover fall from £141.5m in 2009 to £127 in 2010 pre-tax profit rose from £3.5m to £5.3m.  After five years’ continued growth, this was due to the removal of loss-making contracts from acquired businesses that bolstered revenues in 2009.  Managing director Harry Yearsley says: “Growth, expansion and consolidation encompass our recent highlights and future strategy.”

However, Grocontinental’s joint managing director, Linda Grocott sounds a cautionary: “Our pre-tax profits for the year to 31 October 2010 went up 26.5% to £2.8m from £2.2m the previous year.  Turnover also increased 11.8% to £25.7m from £23m.  Next year we are quite cautious as the turnover figures have levelled off, and there will also be the impact of increased fuel and electricity costs. “Like many companies of our size, the business

environment we operate in continues to be challenging.  With these risks in mind, we are aware any plans for the future development of the business may be subject to unforeseen future events outside of our control,” she says.

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