Northgate drives back into the black by £9.6m

The commercial van hire company Northgate said it had swung back into the black after cracking down on costs and obtaining higher prices for its second-hand vehicles.

The Darlington-based business, which operates in the UK and Spain, is close to completing a restructuring which will see its hire companies cut from 20 to 12 and brought under a common brand, saving an annual £10m from next year.

Depot numbers have been cut from 80 to 65 and Northgate shed 131 jobs – 6 per cent of its staff – over the year. These measures and a £6.5m boost from recovering second-hand prices helped Northgate to make a pre-tax profit of £9.6m for the year to 30 April – bouncing back from a £195.6m loss.