British haulage company Stobart plans to push further into the air sector after the group relied on tight cost management to offset the pressure being placed on its core transport business by nervous retailers.
The company, whose Eddie Stobart trucks deliver goods to retailers such as retailer Tesco, on Thursday reported underlying pre-tax profit of GBP£13.2 million (USD$21 million) for the six months to end August, down nearly 20 percent from a year ago.
Revenue inched down 1 percent to GBP£278.5 million but fell 5.6 percent in the group's core transport division.
Transport is Stobart's biggest division but the company has recently been diversifying into rail, biomass energy, property and airport facilities and hopes to become the UK's leading provider of multimodal transport and logistics solutions.
Stobart said work on extending London Southend Airport's terminal was expected to start in November to accommodate rising traffic with low-cost airlines easyJet and Aer Lingus.