The County Durham-based coal mining and transport company Hargreaves Services plc has reported a 5.6& increase in underlying profit before tax after a year of strong trading and an expansion of production activities.
Preliminary results for the year ended May 31, 2014, show the figure lay at £55.1m, compared to £52.2m in 2013.
Revenues, meanwhile, increased 3.1% to £869.2m, while the recommended full-year dividend is up 24.4% to 25.5p.
A report accompanying the latest results said there had been a positive end to the year for surface mining with excellent production run rates, after earlier delays and exceptional weather conditions.
A five year industrial services contract had likewise been secured with China Light and Power in Hong Kong and there were strong operating cash flows, with net debt reduced to £68.8m at the year end.
Hargreaves chairman Tim Ross said: “This year was challenging for Hargreaves.
“In difficult market conditions it is testament to the strength of the group that we are 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 minimise risk and optimise shareholder value in response to rapidly evolving markets.
“The disposal of Imperial Tankers for £26.9m, completed earlier this month, is an encouraging first step.”