Haulage and logistics compmany Wincanton Plc reported a 16% fall in first-half profit, hit by lower client activity and restructuring costs, but said stability was returning and the outlook was positive.
"There has been much more stability in the last four to six months but the helter-skelter that we were on 12 months ago seems to have gone and hopefully that will lead to growth," says chief executive Graeme McFaull.
The company, which transports goods such as food, documents and materials for recycling around the UK and mainland Europe, and whose largest customers include GlaxoSmithKline and Tesco, posted an underlying pretax profit of £18 million on revenue 9.9% lower at £1.8 billion for the six months to the end of September.
Wincanton, which last month said it would close some of its depots in Germany, paid £3.8 million in restructuring costs in the first half, with a further £13 million expected in the second half.
"We have sorted out of road transport activities in Germany, which had been holding back our profitability in mainland Europe, and the elimination of those losses gives us a platform to grow there again," said McFaull. "On a pretax level we see profits coming in at between £34 and 36 million in the current financial year."
The group recently won contracts worth £275 million with Marks & Spencer to run parts of its supply chain, and said it was positive on its prospects.
Wincanton issued a profit warning earlier this year due to the economic downturn, but has since been able to cut costs to offset declining volumes.