UNITED Wholesale (Scotland), the cash-and-carry business owned by former MP Mohammed Sarwar and his family, saw pre-tax profits almost triple last year, despite start-up costs of new online discount and mobile phone app subsidiaries.

Turnover rose 10.2% to £184.2 million in 2011, according to accounts filed with Companies House.

This translated into a surge in pre-tax profit from £657,000 to £1.7m.

The key driver of the improvement was the absence of £1.1m of exceptional expenses taken in 2010 to cover legal expenses for the successful appeal of Athif Sarwar, a former director and son of Mr Sarwar, against a conviction for using the business to conceal the proceeds of VAT frauds.

The underlying trading performance of United Wholesale also improved, driven by its Glasgow-based cash-and-carry arm.

The company's directors said: "In a competitive climate we are pleased to report both our cash-and- carry depots at Maxwell Road and Queenslie performed well, resulting in a 10% increase in turnover to £184m."

The company has a retail arm operating under the Day Today and Day Today Express banners, which the directors said would "future-proof" its core business.

United Wholesale, whose managing director is Mr Sarwar's son Asim, established online discount business Today's Great Deal which secured sales of £358,000 but posted a pre-tax loss of £283,000.

The mobile phone app venture Calljuggler.com made a £46,000 loss and had no sales.

"Having absorbed the start-up costs in 2011 the directors have assessed that Today's Great Deal Ltd will return a profit in 2012.

"The development and marketing of the mobile phone application is continuing and the directors do not expect it to have a sig-nificant impact on the group's trading prospects in 2012."

The company also made charitable donations of £62,000, up from £32,000 in 2010, and donations to the Labour Party rose from £2600 to £26,000.

The company's shareholders include Anas Sarwar, Mr Sarwar's son and his successor as MP for Glasgow Central.

United Wholesale (Scotland) was formed in 2002 when Mohammad Sarwar, elected as the UK's first Muslim MP in 1997, split the family's original cash-and-carry business.

This left his brother Mohammad Ramzan and his family in control of United Wholesale Grocers.