Acquisitions fuel revenue growth at family-owned group

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Strategic acquisitions in JR Rix & Sons’ petroleum business has driven revenue growth for the Hull-based business.

Rix Petroleum – the largest company in the Group – acquired Telford-based Oakley Fuel Oils in February 2019 and K9 Fuels in the following September, which is based in Gainsborough.

Together, the acquisitions and strong seasonal demand in the domestic and agricultural markets saw petroleum’s turnover rise from £365.7m in 2018 to £379.4m in the 12 months to 31 December 31 2019.

This fuelled a growth in group turnover from £495.5m in 2018 to £509.3m last year.

Group pre-tax profit rose sharply to £12m, up from £7.7m in the previous year.

However, the disposal of investment properties accounted for £5.25m in profits, resulting in profit from trading activities of £6.75m – a fall of 12%.

Elsewhere in the group, trading was broadly in line with expectations.

Maritime Bunkering, which supplies marine fuels to shipping vessels, saw a dip in revenue from £59.5m in 2018 to £55.4m last year due to a reduction in the price of oil, the availability of product, and increased competition in the marketplace.

Rix Shipping, which manages the group’s vessels and provides stevedoring services in Hull and Montrose, saw a £217,500 drop in turnover to £14.5m, due to reduced activity in the offshore wind market.

Jordan’s Cars, which operates a Fiat dealership, outperformed the market, growing revenue to £31.9m in 2019 compared to £30.4m in the previous year.

And Victory Leisure Homes, the group’s holiday home and lodge manufacturer, saw a 12 per cent rise in sales from £25.1m in 2018 to £28.1m last year as production geared up.

Rory Clarke, group managing director of JR Rix & Sons Ltd, said: “The successful integration of Oakley Fuel Oils and K9 Fuels into the Rix Petroleum family gave us a strong footing in two new areas of the UK and that has made a significant contribution to Rix Petroleum’s revenue, and the Group’s.

“Although Maritime Bunkering saw a modest drop in turnover, this was principally due to the price of crude oil.

“We were particularly pleased with the performance of Jordan’s Cars as this was set against a backdrop of a loss of market share by Fiat, and of Victory Leisure Homes which was powered by the continuing trend for staycations and high demand for the company’s new product range.

“I’m pleased to say all businesses within the Group made a positive contribution which combined to create a solid overall performance and we continue to reinvest profits into growth, opportunity and job creation, as we have always done.”

Clarke stressed that whilst these accounts are about the business’s performance in 2019, COVID-19 has been a significant event this year which requires comment.

Despite the pandemic, he said many parts of the group have shown great resilience although some areas have suffered a considerable impact as a result of lockdown and other restrictions caused by the virus.

“Parts of the business have fared well during the crisis, but others less so,” he added. “Although overall, the Group has performed well.

“The Government funding on offer has enabled us to avoid job losses in the areas that have been impacted most by COVID, and that has helped us successfully trade our way through the bulk of the crisis.”