Profits slow down for Bulkhaul Limited but bosses remain confident

The Middlesbrough-based tank container Bulkhaul Limited operators made a pre-tax profit of £31.5m

Steve Gibson
Steve Gibson

Tank container specialists Bulkhaul say a second refinancing deal has helped a “long term confident outlook.”

The Middlesbrough-based firm, which is owned by Middlesbrough FC chairman Steve Gibson, published accounts which showed a slowdown in pre-tax profits from £35.2m to £31.5m in its 2014 financial year.

Similarly turnover in the year ended June 30 had slowed to £170m, from £179m the year previously.

The firm specialises in transportation of bulk liquids and powders, covering European, Pacific and Asian routes.

In a report accompanying the accounts, Mr Gibson outlined a “significant restructuring” of its borrowings – including more favourable terms and fewer lenders.

This latest refinancing move follows a similar tactic used by the firm in 2013.

Mr Gibson, who earned a Top 10 place in this year’s Sunday Times Rich List, said: “The revised banking facilities provide the company with both substantial working capital facilities and long term loans with variable amortising profiles, from a syndicate of clearing banks and other financial institutions.”

He added: “The company committed to its long term confident outlook by continuing to take delivery of new built tanks to increase its already considerable fleet of owned tank containers.”

The tank container industry has been impacted by recession in recent years, although Bulkhaul has previously trumpeted its success in identifying global markets which have not suffered as much.

Bulkhaul said it managed to negotiate volatile global freight rates by careful planning of its long term contractual business and “spot” business.

Founded in 1981 by Gibson with a £1,000 loan from his father, Bulkhaul now operates offices across the world, including Milan, Rio de Janeiro and Houston.

The firm is part of The Gibson O’Neill Company Limited which also owns Middlesbrough FC, Rockcliffe Hall hotel and Gibson O’Neill Properties Limited.

Bulkhaul’s highest paid director received £1.56m during the year. Headcount at the firm fell only marginally from 414 to 410.

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