FOOD and fuels group NWF drove profits up and debts down as it further improved the performance of its fuels division.
Revenues for the six months to November 30 stood at £256.5m – down 2.7% on the same period in 2011 – as oil prices fell.
But the Cheshire group’s pre-tax profits for the period stood at £2.3m – up 28% on 2011. And net debt fell by more than half to £13.7m as NWF focused on improving the management of its cash flows in its fuels division.
NWF chief executive Richard Whiting said he was particularly pleased at the fall in the level of debt.
He said: “It’s all about working capital, particularly in fuels.
“We’ve grown our fuels business. If you go back a year we had high oil prices. The volumes were higher and we were hitting against our credit limits with the oil suppliers.
“We’ve renegotiated those terms, and we’re managing our supplier business more effectively, optimising the profits of our business.”
In its fuels arm volumes were stable at 192m litres. Revenues fell by 5.1% to £171.4m, but operating profits were in line with expectations at £500,000.
NWF’s animal feeds arm, which supplies food to one in seven dairy cows in the UK, saw revenues rise 10% to £66.2m thanks to increasing commodity prices. But the company managed to control its costs, keeping operating profits ahead of expectations at £1.6m.
But its foods arm, which stores goods for major manufacturers, saw revenues fall 17.5% to £18.9m as the take-up of new customers was lower than expected. Operating profits fell to £800,000, slightly behind management expectations.