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Wincanton's annual loss quadruples

After a tough year, the supply chain company looks to the UK and Ireland.

The British supply chain solutions provider Wincanton has posted a loss of £102.4m for the year ended 31 March 2012 – a substantial increase on £24.9m for the same period last year.

Group revenue dropped by 9 per cent to £1.2bn (2011: £1.33bn), while operating loss mushroomed to £32.4m (2011: £20.3m).

The news wasn't all bad – though the underlying operating profit had decreased to £43.8m (2011: £46.7m), the group managed to reduce its net debt to £114.5m (2011: £151.8m).

In specialist businesses, revenue was £179m, slightly down on the previous year's £184.6m. Underlying operating profit was £9.2m (2011: £10.1m). Containers saw volumes soften as the year progressed, while the other businesses were stable.

In contract logistics, revenue was £1.02bn (2011: £1.14bn). Underlying operating profit was £34.6m (2011: £36.6m).

The group’s cyclical businesses of construction and containers have seen volumes reduced.

During the year, the group disposed of all of its mainland European operations in three separate transactions, finalised this January.

Eric Born, chief executive of Wincanton, said:

This has been a year of transformation for Wincanton as we reposition the group for a return to profitable growth.  Following the successful disposal of the mainland Europe businesses, Wincanton is now a UK and Ireland business where we have a great operational reputation and critical mass.

The operating business in the UK and Ireland is now better focused and is performing well both in securing existing contracts and winning new business.  This creditable performance has been achieved against a significant headwind from economic uncertainty which has not only impacted volumes but also, more materially, the actions of our customers.

Our refinancing has improved both the maturity and diversification of our debt.  Over time the board will address the legacy debt.

In the new financial year we will continue to concentrate on improving the performance of the operating business to its full potential and will also develop further our product and service extensions.