Tough global trading sees profits fall at Warrant

A Liverpool freight forwarding business that became employee owned earlier this year reports 74% fall in profits to £3.35m due to ‘worldwide trading difficulties’. Tony McDonough reports

Warrant Group says container freight prices fell across the world in 2022


A fall in global container freight prices on imports and exports by sea has hit revenues and sent profits tumbling at Liverpool freight forwarder Warrant Group.

Early in 2023, the owners of the business, which is based in Liverpool’s northern docklands, sold 90% of their shares to an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT). This now makes it one of the largest employee-owned firms in the UK.

Warrant Group has just filed its annual accounts on Companies House for the 12 months to January 31, 2023. During this period the company, which employs 58 people, was still owned by Lynsey Morrison Ian Jones.

They reveal revenues for the year of £78.8m, down on the £82.7m reported for the previous year. Pre-tax profits fell from £12.9m in the previous year to £3.35m, down 74%.

In the annual report Lynsey Morrison, who is now chairman of board, said Warrant was operating in a “competitive market”, adding the fall in container freight prices “has had a direct impact on margins”.

She added: “The general business climate is challenging due to the economic downturn moving forward into 2024.

“The directors are committed to developing the business through continued investment in people and IT systems, which has held them in good stead in previous years of trading.

“The directors are fully aware of such worldwide trading difficulties, but believe that the company is in a strong position and that the outlook is positive.”

According to the accounts an interim dividend of £7.8m was paid during the year although it was recommended that no final dividend be paid. Directors remuneration for the year, including salaries and pensions, totalled £338,789.

Completed on February 1, the transfer of 90% of the Warrant Group to its employees would allow the owners to step back from the business over time, the company said.

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As part of the process, Andy Simpson became the new managing director of Warrant Group and John Healy took over as finance director.

Ian Jones said: “As owners of Warrant Group, Lynsey and I felt that an EOT fitted perfectly with our company ethos to secure the long-term future of the business. This will ensure that our core values, culture, and legacy will continue for many years to come.

Andy Simpson added: “This is an incredibly exciting time for Warrant, and I am proud to be leading the business into an ambitious new era to drive fresh growth.”

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