Elddis Transport buffered from recession by cost control

Elddis Transport says tight cost control is protecting it against the full impact of the downturn, despite a minor fall in profit.

The Consett, County Durham-based company recorded a 2% drop in pre-tax profit to £284,000 in the year to 31 December 2009 on turnover that fell 11.7% to £21.5m.

MD Nigel Cook says: "We've pretty well held the status quo and, given the current conditions, our position is where we would hope to be."

The company's revenue was hit by general contraction of the economy, lower fuel prices that reduced the rates paid by customers, and by relocation of an unnamed major customer away from the North-East.

But fuel efficiencies and a reduction in headcount by 18% to 265, achieved through both natural wastage and redundancies, helped it to limit the effects.

"Our control of costs has helped us to remain profitable and is part of a continuous improvement policy," Cook says.

"The market is still a long way from getting back to where it was and we have positioned the business well for that. We also own most of our assets, which is an advantage."

Elddis maintained its overall fleet number of 165 vehicles and 280 trailers, but replaced 25 of each and invested in telematics and performance-monitoring solutions. A contract renewal with SCA Hygiene was announced last month and it has moved into new areas of business, including caravan storage.

"We will continue to look for other opportunities, although transport will remain our core focus," Cook explains.