Bestway Group has unveiled expansion plans for 2007 alongside strong double-digit annual growth figures for the year to 30 June.

The company aims to open the first new Batleys depot in more than five years at Gillingham, Kent, in July 2007, having successfully integrated the wholesaler, which it bought in 2005.

In addition, Bestway, which is based in Park Royal, London, said it expected to open its 50th depot in Edmonton, north London, in March next year.

The company, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, said its initial investment in the two warehouses would top £11.5m. "Edmonton and Gillingham are the latest examples of Bestway's continued commitment to the UK's wholesale and cash & carry sector," said group chief executive Zameer Choudrey.

The development plans were announced as Bestway posted a 27% rise in annual pre-tax profit from £57.2m to £73m on annual turnover up 26%, from £1.35bn to £1.7bn. Some of the growth had come from its cement manufacturing and banking interests in Pakistan. But it said the bulk of the growth had come from the purchase of Batleys and new warehouses, and claimed its share of food, drink and tobacco sales at wholesale level had increased to 17%.

Bestway said Batleys had contributed more than £566m in sales and £8.2m in operating profits.

Across the whole group, Bestway said it had invested more than £25m in existing locations and new developments. Two more depots were opened this year in Leicester, in February, and Hackney, in April.

"Bestway will continue to focus on organic growth through investments in existing and new warehouses and initiatives," said Choudrey.

"At the same time, the group continues to evaluate possible acquisition targets in the sector."

The company also said a focused expansion into catering in March had been well received by the industry and customers.