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Hargreaves Services year-end results

Challenging and rewarding year as company becomes UK’s key coal producer and distributor

HARGREAVES Services plc, the UK’s leading suppliers of solid fuel and bulk material logistics, have announced their preliminary results for the year ended 31 May 2013.
Strong performances from the company’s coal distribution business in the UK and from its core material-handling services business saw underlying profit before tax from continuing operations increase by 5.9% to £52.2 million.

Underlying operating profit from continuing operations increased by 4.3% to £55.7 million on revenue that was up 36.5% to £843.3 million.

Hargreaves said net debt at the year end was broadly in line with expectations at £77.9 million.

Coal production is now under way at and performing in line with plans at the ATH surface mines acquired in May 2013, following a successful £42 million equity raise in April 2013.

Steps are also under way to commence production at various Scottish Coal sites acquired post year end in July 2013, while discontinued activities, including the closure of Maltby closure and the wind-down of the company’s Belgian business, are both progressing in line with expectations.

Commenting on the results, chairman Tim Ross said: ‘It has been both a challenging and rewarding year. Whilst the Group suffered setbacks at both Maltby and in Belgium, we have made significant strategic progress. Following a successful equity raise in April, the Group has accelerated the development of its surface mining business to become the key coal producer and distributor in the UK market.’

On the outlook, Mr Ross said that while challenges still lay 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 meant it was well positioned to deal with any further market volatility.

‘The UK business, strengthened by the recent surface mining investments, provides a sound platform to look selectively at additional expansion opportunities,’ he commented. ‘Recent trading in the UK has been encouraging and we remain confident of achieving expectations for further growth in the current financial year.’

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