NFC axes up to 600 jobs in further shake-up

NFC, the transport group which has been restructuring itself for over three years, yesterday announced a new reorganisation and disposal programme to raise pounds 207m and axe up to 600 jobs. The shares, which have fallen from a recent high of 199p in October, added just 0.5p to 128.5p on news of the shake-up, which disappointed some City analysts.

Sir Christopher Bland, chairman, said the latest round of restructuring, which will include a pounds 49m exceptional charge in the full year results, would be the last. Unveiling a 17 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to pounds 53.3m for the half year to March, he said NFC had achieved significant earnings growth while disposing of two big businesses where the group did not think it had a future. Sir Christopher said NFC was now out of the woods. "We can now indeed see the wood from the trees."

The group is selling its BRS car leasing operations to GE Capital of the US in a pounds 120m deal, while the Lynx parcel delivery business in the UK is going to management in pounds 34.4m buy out. The remainder of the cash being raised will come from the disposal of the remaining removals businesses of Pickfords in the US and Canada and the rationalisation of some 60 properties in the UK, which are expected to raise pounds 30m. In addition, NFC expects to pick up pounds 32m from relinquishing three "uneconomic" transport contracts with Whitbread, Homebase and Boots.

Gerry Murphy, chief executive, said the exercise would liberate around pounds 200m, of which 20 per cent would be spent on restructuring and the rest on investment in higher than average growth businesses in growing markets. The target would be to achieve rates of return in the mid to high teens.

The reorganisation would see some 500 to 600 redundancies, with the majority in the UK, Mr Murphy said, but precise numbers would depend on how successful they were at reallocating staff. One of the casualties is Graham Roberts, currently chief executive of Continental European operations, who has resigned from the board and will leave the group at the year end. His departure follows a decision to integrate the management of the UK and Continental businesses, where losses grew in the year.

The disposals will throw up a net profit of pounds 20m in the second half and, contributing profits of pounds 15.5m last year, will result in some earnings dilution, NFC said. The group announced a 2.5p interim dividend and said it expected to pay a final of 5.75p, which would be the fourth year runnning the dividend has been held. Sir Christopher said the plan was to rebuild cover, with 1.7 to 2 times more typical at other companies.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Retirement Coordinator - Financial Services

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...

Recruitment Genius: Annuities / Pensions Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Ashdown Group: Learning and Development Programme Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing