Haulier Woodside drives up sales and profits despite 'challenging' year

The Woodside Logistics Group reported a 4.5 per cent rise in turnover to £67.3 million in the year to last March
The Woodside Logistics Group reported a 4.5 per cent rise in turnover to £67.3 million in the year to last March

BALLYCLARE-based Woodside Group, parent of one of the north's biggest transport and logistics operators, has driven up revenues and profits despite what it says has been a “challenging environment”.

The business, which encompasses freight haulage, distribution, warehousing and services, reported a 4.5 per cent rise in turnover from £64.4 million to £67.3 million in the year to last March.

The bulk of those sales came from its UK operations, which delivered £64.8m in the period (up from £62.4m previously), with the rest of Europe providing £2.5m of turnover, up from £2m in 2018.

Meanwhile Woodside's pre-tax profit accelerated to £3.6m from £3m, while bottom-line profit was up 20 per cent to £2.8m, the accounts show.

Founded at the family farm (the site of the current business) by three brothers, the Woodsides availed of the opportunity to transport hay and potatoes when the industry was first privatised in 1966.

Still family-owned and run, the company said its performance in the trading year was "satisfactory", and was achieved in a "challenging operating environment".

The directors who served during the full trading year were Robert Woodside (82) and his wife Maureen (75).

Four further members of the Woodside family - Timothy, Mark, Simon and Robert - were appointed directors in June last year, along with Mark Grain.

Over the years Woodside has developed strong links with all the major shipping lines across the Irish Sea from the ports of Belfast, Dublin, Warrenpoint and Larne, and as a result it has more than 160 standard shipping spaces every day across all major routes.

Its depots in Ballynure, Belfast, Dublin, Liverpool and Preston give the company easy access to all major ports in Ireland and Britain including Heysham, Birkenhead, Cairnryan and Holyhead.

According to accounts, the Woodside Logistics Group employs 518 people, primarily in driving and garage roles.

That's up from 483 the year before, and as a result its overall wages bill rose to £18.7 million, with its two principal directors being paid a combined £343,475.

Much of the equipment and vehicles used in the Woodside business are purchased on a leasing or hire-purchase basis.

The outstanding obligations on finance leases and hire purchase at March 2019 were £5.8 million, according to its financial statement.