P&H has reported a pre-tax loss of £8.6m

Palmer & Harvey has slipped into the red after taking a £13.4m hit on exceptional items.

The UK’s biggest wholesaler reported a pre-tax loss of £8.6m in the year to 6 April 2013, against profits of £4.9m the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. EBITDA fell 7.5% to £37.1m.

The exceptional items related to £5.6m in costs following the refinancing of its banking facilities £3.5m in legal costs associated with civil action against a former supplier restructuring costs of £3m relating to a management “delayering” that saw nine senior executives depart and £1.1m in fees relating to its acquisition of Walkers Snack Services and the Costcutter deal, signed in December 2012.

Turnover rose 0.1% to £4.2bn. The wholesaler’s non-tobacco sales broke through the £1bn barrier for the first time - up 5.7% to £1.05bn following the Walkers acquisition. tobacco sales rose 0.3% to £3.2bn.

As well as the Walkers and Costcutter deals, P&H signed a new three-year contract with Sainsbury’s, a one-year chilled distribution contract with One Stop and a two-year contract with Martin McColl.

It also acquired WS Retail, which had three stores in the Bournemouth area operating as Central. P&H has since extended this to 10 company-owned stores.

P&H would not comment on its results, but writing in the accounts, CEO Chris Etherington said: “The intention is to develop the scale of the business gradually to obtain clearer understanding of the P&H offer to our customers.

“We have also commenced a franchised extension of Central,” he added.