C Butt sees its future outside general haulage

C Butt saw pre-tax profit and turnover crash in its most recent financial year following the loss of three major contracts.

Retailer Poundstretcher and kitchen supplier Symphony took their transport operations, run by C Butt, back in-house to save costs. C Butt also saw its contract with Asda, to run the transport for the Netto stores that the supermarket group acquired in 2009, come to an end.

The group’s turnover for the year ended 30 April 2015 fell 

60% to £14.5m as a result (2014: £36m). It also made a pre-tax loss of £557,000, a 555% fall compared with 2014’s profit of £122,000. 

C Butt MD Clive Hodgkinson said the year’s results had also been affected by a “reshaping of the business” away from general haulage.

He told CM: “General haulage is run on rates that are very low and trying to get the equivalent percentage of back haul is difficult. It’s not something that we want to be involved in.”

Hodgkinson said that the company planned to focus instead on the whole logistics package with more emphasis on warehousing and value-added services. It has opened two new warehouses as part of this strategy, in Corby and Brackmills, Northampton. The Corby site is an open-book site for a customer, and the Brackmills warehouse is a shared-user facility.

He added that C Butt had taken on five or six new contracts since the close of its last financial year, albeit on a smaller scale than the three it lost.

“We’re looking at smaller contracts at the moment, and we’ll concentrate on that area for the moment. But altogether the volume is about the same,” Hodgkinson said.

Hodgkinson said current trading was far better than during the same period last year. He added that the group hoped to see “a much more positive result” with a return to profit in the 2016/17 period.