TURNOVER at Greenock-based paper-broking business PG Paper shot up by 54 per cent in the year to March 2019 as the firm’s expansion into overseas markets started to take hold.

The business, which was founded by husband and wife team Poonam and Puneet Gupta in 2003, saw turnover rise from £36.2 million to £55.7m.

The vast majority of the total was generated in overseas markets.

While its UK income fell by 46% - from £580,960 to £314,555 – and its European sales plummeted from £692,633 to £175,034, the revenues it received from elsewhere in the world rose from £34.9m to £55.7m.

It comes after the business continued to expanded its overseas operations, opening bases in Beijing and Istanbul.

Mr Gupta, who serves as chief operating officer of the business while his wife is its chief executive, said the growth had been achieved in spite of difficult trading in a number of its markets.

“PG Paper has shown significant growth over the last year, with a number of key appointments alongside the opening of new offices in America, China, and Turkey,” he said.

“This has been against a backdrop of challenging trading conditions, including exchange rate fluctuations and political uncertainty in some of our markets.”

While the firm’s profits did not grow at the same rate as its turnover, Mr Gupta said that margins “decreased back to more historic levels in the year”.

A pre-tax profit of £1.6m gave a profit margin of 3% compared with 4% in the previous year.

At the end of the year the business was owed £1.1m from Mr and Mrs Gupta, up from £829,000 a year earlier. The company charges a commercial rate of interest on the loans.

The company was also due money from a range of other businesses controlled by the couple. Among those, Punav owed it £524,000, up from £500,000, and SAPP Property owed it £244,000, up from £186,000. None of these loans are interest bearing.