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Ceva Logistics' pre-tax loss doubles

A difficult quarter, despite revenue surges in freight management and contract logistics.

The Dutch supply-chain company Ceva Logistics has reported a pre-tax loss of €73m for the second quarter ended 30 June 2012, compared to €36m for the same period last year.

Revenue increased by 5.5 per cent to €1.81bn (2011: €1.71bn), while adjusted EBITDA declined by 13.6 per cent to €70m (2011: €81m).

During the quarter, the company’s revenues in its freight management division increased by 9 per cent, while in the contract logistics division, they grew by 3 per cent.

Net working capital increased to €9m in the quarter. Cash generated from operations improved to €22m (2011: €17m).

John Pattullo, chief executive of Ceva Logistics, said:

This was a difficult quarter, characterised by flat markets and customer caution, partially offset by our efficiency programmes, global footprint and robust business model. Trans-Pacific volume and weakness in southern Europe remain a concern. As a result, we have introduced an even more rigorous approach to cost management to support delivery of our strategic plan.

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No, David Cameron’s speech was not “left wing”

Come on, guys.

There is a strange journalistic phenomenon that occurs when a party leader makes a speech. It is a blend of groupthink, relief, utter certainty, and online backslapping. It happened particularly quickly after David Cameron’s speech to Tory party conference today. A few pundits decided that – because he mentioned, like, diversity and social mobility – this was a centre-left speech. A leftwing speech, even. Or at least a clear grab for the liberal centre ground. And so that’s what everyone now believes. The analysis is decided. The commentary is written. Thank God for that.

Really? It’s quite easy, even as one of those nasty, wicked Tories, to mention that you actually don’t much like racism, and point out that you’d quite like poor children to get jobs, without moving onto Labour's "territory". Which normal person is in favour of discriminating against someone on the basis of race, or blocking opportunity on the basis of class? Of course he’s against that. He’s a politician operating in a liberal democracy. And this isn’t Ukip conference.

Looking at the whole package, it was actually quite a rightwing speech. It was a paean to defence – championing drones, protecting Britain from the evils of the world, and getting all excited about “launching the biggest aircraft carriers in our history”.

It was a festival of flagwaving guff about the British “character”, a celebration of shoehorning our history chronologically onto the curriculum, looking towards a “Greater Britain”, asking for more “national pride”. There was even a Bake Off pun.

He also deployed the illiberal device of inculcating a divide-and-rule fear of the “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us”, informing us that children in UK madrassas are having their “heads filled with poison and their hearts filled with hate”, and saying Britain shouldn’t be “overwhelmed” with refugees, before quickly changing the subject to ousting Assad. How unashamedly centrist, of you, Mr Prime Minister.

Benefit cuts and a reduction of tax credits will mean the Prime Minister’s enthusiasm for “equality of opportunity, as opposed to equality of outcome” will be just that – with the outcome pretty bleak for those who end up losing any opportunity that comes with state support. And his excitement about diversity in his cabinet rings a little hollow the day following a tubthumping anti-immigration speech from his Home Secretary.

If this year's Tory conference wins the party votes, it’ll be because of its conservative commitment – not lefty love bombing.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.