Despite swings in retail sales volumes, caused by the poor spring weather followed by very hot periods in June and July, the transport and distribution division will achieve “a solid result” in the first six month of the year, it predicted.
Investment in planning systems to meet customers’ needs was helping the business cope with increased volatility in demand.
The transport group – which now runs businesses focusing on renewable energy, flight services, property and law – said it was evolving from an investment phase towards realising value.
Andrew Tinkler, chief executive, said: “As stated in our annual results, we are now moving the business from investment phase into its value optimisation stage and we are making steady progress in this transition, in line with our four-year strategy.
‘Each of our divisions’
The management team was focused on delivering value to shareholders and will continue to work on achieving the potential of each of our divisions, he added.
In the Air division, the terminal extension at London Southend Airport was nearly complete and will be fully commissioned by the end of this year. The addition of the fourth EasyJet aircraft based at the airport meant both earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation and operational cash flow were improving, said the firm.
Achieving profit and cash flow targets relied upon driving additional passenger numbers by establishing new services with existing and new airline customers and continuing to refine operations to improve revenue per passenger, it added.
In the Biomass division, tonnages, revenues and profits were said to be ahead year-on-year. While volume growth was difficult to predict, the team was focussed on plant operators’ existing demands to grow short-term revenues, according to the firm.
New power generation projects
Another key focus was helping developers and funders to bring new power generation projects to financial close in order to secure long-term biomass supply contracts.
The Warrington-based group also announced the appointment of former Tate & Lyle chief executive and the honorary vice-president of the British Nutrition Foundation Iain Ferguson as its new chairman.
Ferguson, who is also chairman of textile services business Berendsen and a non-executive director on the boards of Gregg's and Balfour Beatty, will take over as chairman from October.
More on the firm’s appointment of Ferguson is available here.
Stobart is expected to post its interim results for the six months to August 31 2013 on October 24.
The group employs more than 5,900 employees at more than 50 sites across the UK and Europe.
Transport and distribution accounted for about 90% of the group’s revenues.