Cheaper oil prices drive up haulier Surefreight's profits
Falling oil prices have helped boost the bottom line at Newry-based haulage company Surefreight.
The firm has posted pre-tax profits of £1.06m - up from £875,854 - although turnover was down slightly, from £19.57m to £19.50m.
Surefreight said the "significant" profit rise was due to the lower cost of diesel, shipping, favourable exchange rates and more efficient trading, such as reducing overheads and "becoming more selective" in accepting contracts and tenders.
Managing director Vincent Waddell told the Belfast Telegraph the firm expected to reach pre-tax profits of £1.4m in its present financial year. A strategic report accompanying the firm's results for the year to the end of June 2015 said "the directors are satisfied with the results achieved for the year in light of prevailing economic conditions".
"The directors are committed to long-term creation of shareholder value by increasing the company's market share through existing and new customers, despite the sector remaining highly competitive," it added. "The incoming year is likely to be very challenging. However, the directors expect to be able to increase the current level of activity and sales in the foreseeable future."
Surefreight was established with just two lorries in 1989 by Brian McManus and Mr Waddell, and has since grown into a major haulage company with a fleet of 250 trucks, 600 curtainside trailers and light vans. Employing 176 people, it has depots across England and Wales and opened a base in Miami, Florida, in 2014.
Its base at Carnbane in Newry includes 80,000 sq ft of warehousing space, with an additional 100,000 sq ft warehouse in Telford.