• Profits up by 6% to £27.5m
  • Revenue of £868.6m up by over 10%
  • New joint venture with Rolls-Royce
  • National productivity campaign launched
  • Over 360 jobs created
  • Record number of international awards

Unipart Group, one of Europe’s leading manufacturing, logistics and consultancy companies, has announced its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2015.

Revenue grew by just over 10%. Group turnover, including joint ventures and associates, was £868.6m (£786.8m in 2014).

Total Group profit before interest, tax and exceptional items has gone up by 6%, from £26 million in 2014 to £27.5million in 2015. This included the Group’s share of profits from joint ventures and associates. The Group ended the year with a net cash balance of £7.1m. The company created over 360 jobs across its operations.

Commenting on the results, Unipart Chairman and Group Chief Executive John Neill said that the company’s long term strategy for continued productivity improvement was central to its growth.

“Last summer, the Chancellor of the Exchequer called low productivity ‘Britain’s key economic challenge’. In Unipart, we believe we have a solution to the productivity puzzle, we call it The Unipart Way,” he said.

“We have invested over 30 years in building our Unipart Way ecosystem. We are now creating new digital components to enable us to deploy the system with greater speed and agility on a global basis for our own operating companies and our clients.”

Unipart has also made a significant investment in a national campaign to explain how to solve the productivity puzzle. The campaign included national press advertising, social media and high quality video documentaries featuring interviews with some of the UK’s top business leaders.

“The productivity campaign has been well received by political and business leaders. It will continue to raise the issue of the UK’s flagging productivity and demonstrate how The Unipart Way can help organisations of all kinds to address this issue,” said Neill.

During 2015, Unipart launched a joint venture with Rolls-Royce called MetLase Limited.

MetLase uses high precision, laser cutting technology, and patented assembly and joining systems, to enable engineers to produce prototypes rapidly. “The MetLase technology originated in the aerospace industry and will now be available to companies in other sectors for the first time,” said Neill.

Unipart also increased its research and development activity through The Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME). In just over a year, the joint venture with Coventry University has developed a new exhaust system for Aston Martin weighing half the previous weight, and designed new fuel systems for Ford providing customers with greater efficiency, economy and ultimately reducing fuel consumption.

“The AME is a talent pipeline for our company, helping to create the next generation of young engineers,” said Neill. “It is also a technology pipeline for our customers enabling the development of new products such as the lightweight exhaust system.”

In logistics, Unipart continued to grow its customer base with a range of new clients and extensions to relationships with existing clients. In January, construction, agricultural, ground care machinery, and engine manufacturer, Kubota UK appointed Unipart to manage its national parts distribution and logistics function from Oxford.

HSS HireGroup plc, the national supplier of tools, equipment and related services,awarded Unipart along-term contract to establish a new National Distribution and Engineering Centre at Cowley, and to continue the deployment of Unipart’s I.T. and operational excellence systems.

In the rail sector, Unipart and Lucchini RS S.p.A. formed a joint venture combining Lucchini’s wheelset overhaul facility with Unipart’s wheelset supply and bogie overhaul business. Lucchini Unipart Rail Limited is the only UK business that can offer a service from ‘furnace to fleet’ for the rail industry.

Unipart also acquired Park Signalling Limited, which delivers advanced digital signalling solutions to the rail market through consultancy services, products and systems. This acquisition adds to Unipart’s growing reputation for innovation, enabling the company to access new markets and continue to develop and expand in the UK and overseas.

During 2015, Unipart established a new Chinese regional hub in Shanghai for Jaguar Land Rover, as well as developing a number of new systems for JLR’s overseas operations. Subsequently, Unipart also opened a purpose-built distribution centre for Jaguar Land Rover in India, growing Unipart’s footprint on the sub-continent.

The expansion of the Group’s business was complemented by a number of prestigious awards during the year. Unipart won the award for the best supply chain company in Europe for its relationship with Waterstones. This was among five top supply chain awards won by Unipart, which included the Automotive Supply Chain Global Award for its partnership with Mobis.

Unipart has won its highest ever number of safety accolades - seven prestigious British Safety Council Swords of Honour - more than any other company in the world - as well as three Globe of Honour awards for environmental performance. The Group also received a five star rating - the highest possible – scoring 99% in the Business in the Community 2015 Corporate Responsibility Index - the UK’s leading benchmark of responsible business.

Notes to editors: About Unipart Group

Unipart Group is a leading UK manufacturer, full service logistics provider and consultant in operational excellence. Operating across a range of market sectors, including automotive, manufacturing, mobile telecoms, rail, retail and technology, Unipart offers a breadth of services from third party logistics to expert consultancy. The company, which has its headquarters in Oxford, provides services to a growing range of blue chip clients including Jaguar Land Rover, Vodafone, Sky, Sainsbury’s and many other household names.

PHOTO: Laser cutting technology and patented assembly and joining systems from MetLase Ltd, the joint venture between Unipart and Rolls-Royce, enabled engineers to produce the prototype light weight exhaust system at the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME).