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Hargreaves announce year-end results

Solid fuel and bulk material logistics Group reports 6% increase in profits in difficult market conditions

HARGREAVES Services plc, the UK’s leading suppliers of solid fuel and bulk material logistics, said strong UK trading volumes and successful expansion of production activities, together with a positive end to the year for surface mining, contributed to a 3.1% increase in revenue, to £869.2 million, for the 12 months ended 31 May 2014 (2013: £843.3 million).

Underlying profit before tax from continuing operations was up 5.6% to £55.1 million (2013: £52.2 million), while underlying operating profit from continuing operations increased by 6.8% to £59.5 million (2013: £55.7 million).

Strong operating cash flows saw net debt reduced by 11.7% to £68.8 million (2013: £77.9 million) at year end.

On 1 September 2014, Hargreaves announced the sale of Imperial Tankers and the implementation of a new strategy to focus the Group on its core strengths, simplifying operations and ensuring that the business is optimally placed to respond as market conditions continue to evolve.

Chairman Tim Ross (pictured) said: ‘This year was challenging for Hargreaves. In difficult market conditions it is testament to the strength of the Group that we were able to announce a 6% increase in profits. The Group achieved strong profitability on all measures.

‘The review of strategy that the board has commenced will ensure the Group is positioned to minimize risk and optimize shareholder value in response to rapidly evolving markets. The disposal of Imperial Tankers for £26.9 million, completed earlier this month, is an encouraging first step.’

Looking forward, Mr Ross said that while there remain challenges ahead, particularly due to the uncertain economic climate and its knock-on effects on the major coal users in the power generation and steel sectors, the Group’s resilience leaves it better positioned than any other coal operator to work through the current market volatility and support the sector in the longer term.

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