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Fergusson plans to expand in England

SCOTTISH coal and smokeless fuel supplier Fergusson Group has declared a rise in annual profits, following sharp falls in earnings in its previous two financial years.

It has also underlined its growth ambitions by announcing the establishment of an import, export and processing facility at a leased site at the Port of Blyth in north east England. The company, which is owned and managed by brothers Tom and Alan Fergusson, said this new operation would complement its main processing hub at Hunterston in Ayrshire.

Stirling-based Fergusson said yesterday that it had made pre-tax profits of £2.5 million in the year to March 31, 2013, up from £1.85m in the prior 12 months, in a "challenging operating climate".

Profits rose even though turnover dipped to £116.2m, from £121m, with the company citing a focus on "operational efficiency".

Fergusson, which supplies house coal and also sells solid fuel to industrial users including the power generation sector, made pre-tax profits of £4.45m in the year to March 2011.

Its pre-tax profits in the 12 months to March 2010 were £10.2m.

The company, which employs about 200 people, said it sourced its coal requirements from an indigenous supply chain that drew on "quality" supplies from a portfolio of surface mines across Scotland and north-east England. It added that it supplemented these supplies with imports, which provided the flexibility to meet its supply commitments across the UK and Ireland.

In a joint statement, Tom and Alan Fergusson said: "The new facility at the Port of Blyth represents a key phase in our growth strategy for Fergusson Group."

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