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ACS reports strong financial performance despite cargo dip

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Air Charter Service (ACS) saw cargo revenues dip last year, but there was a “strong” financial performance for the company overall.

The charter firm registered an 8% improvement in revenues to £342m for the year ending January 31 and arranged 12,500 contracts.

Gross profit from all aircraft charters totalled a company record £41m, showing underlying growth of 10%. Underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation grew at 16% to £7.3m.

However, the company said its cargo division’s revenues were down as 2015 benefitted from the strikes at west coast US seaports.

ASC chief executive Justin Bowman said: “Pleasingly the strong growth was evenly spread across our 20 offices worldwide, there was even an upturn in our Russian offices’ fortunes, following recent economic troubles in the region.

“In the previous financial year we did a lot of high turnover, large aircraft business around the US west coast port strike in early 2015, which slightly skewed our cargo department’s figures.

“2016 saw no ‘exceptional events’ and, due to this, our cargo department suffered a slight drop in terms of turnover, however underlying revenue increased by 5%.

“Volumes were also up – an increase of more than 6% in cargo charter contracts, coupled with more than 1,000 onboard courier jobs, a growth of 60% on the previous year.”

The company said that its private jet division enjoyed a particularly strong year, growing charter volumes by more than 10% and revenue by a similar amount, compared to the previous 12 months.

The group charter division, which caters for aircraft carrying more than 20 passengers, saw a marked improvement in charter numbers and impressive growth of 27% in terms of revenue. “All of this means that ACS remains in strong cash position, with bank funds of £11m worldwide at the end of the year,” added Bowman.

“These figures do not include deposits from our jet card customers, as we hold these in separate bank accounts on behalf of our clients which are not mixed with our own trading funds. “We are extremely confident about this current year and beyond and that our growth will continue. Despite the various worldwide political instabilities, and unknown challenges, currently things are looking good.”

In October last year, Investment house Alcuin Capital Partners took a minority stake in ACS, the first external investor in the UK airfreight broker which is looking to accelerate its growth through acquisitions.


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