With trading remaining strong for the latter part of the year the Board were pleased to report the results believing them to demonstrate a return on recent investments and the continued resilience of the group with underlying trends consistent through the period.
A strong first half performance provides a solid platform for the business as it enters the seasonally important third quarter and the Board remains confident of delivering its full year expectations.
Over delivering on fuels
The fuel division delivered a strong performance, which was ahead of expectations and the previous year. The increased demand related to the Autumn fuel shortages impacted positively in the short term due to the Group maintaining continuity of supply at all depots across the country. With a full complement of drivers to meet demand NWF experienced no supply shortages during this period.
Further acquisition is a strong possibility as the Board continues to appraise earnings enhancing acquisition opportunities in line with its strategy of consolidating a fragmented UK fuels market.
Mixed results from other business areas
The food division performed well ahead of the prior year, as the business benefitted from its enlarged capacity, experiencing strong demand through the period, as well as enhanced efficiency with stock in optimum locations. Feeds, however, reported a disappointing performance, falling behind year on year as a result of lower volumes, significant commodity price and cost inflation and the challenges of passing this though to customers in the short term.
Latterly, price increases have covered inflationary pressures and there has been an element of volume recovery, albeit still lower than prior year.
Richard Whiting, chief executive of NWF said:
“We have delivered a very strong first half performance, despite volatile market demand and significant inflationary pressures. The Group has been able to retain labour and drivers, ensuring we have continued to service our customers’ needs. Both Fuels and Food have delivered significant year on year growth in the first half, more than offsetting a weaker Feeds result and we enter our seasonally busier second half with good momentum. We continue to focus on the long-term growth of the Group, with a clear strategy which is supported by a very strong financial position.”
Growth through investment
The strong trading result, together with disciplined cash management, sees the business in a strong financial position with significant capacity to support its investment driven growth strategy.
The full trading statement can be read here.