Smiths News chief executive Mark Cashmore hailed a “transformational year” for the wholesaler – despite posting a drop in profits for the past 12 months.

Profits for the year were down just over 6% to £30.5m, despite a rise in revenues of almost 7% to £1.33bn. The group’s debt, meanwhile, increased from £44m in August 2008 to a new mark of £49.5m.

But Cashmore pointed to contract wins worth more than £450m for its core news business and said book wholesaler Bertram, which it acquired in March this year, was performing “ahead of expectations”.

Smiths also snapped up 20 depots from collapsed rival Dawson News – and received a further boost when the Competition Commission declined to launch a probe into the news wholesale sector.

“The implementation of the new contracts has started well but it will require a concerted effort to integrate the former Dawson’s depots,” Cashmore said. “We have clear plans to reduce costs and increase efficiencies in these locations, generating significant value for shareholders.”

OFT states newstrade referral not necessary (26/9/09)
OFT thumbs-up for Smiths’ Dawson deal (29/8/09)
Dawson News enters administration after contract losses (3/8/09)

Can Smiths expect a stronger year next time around now it has a virtual duopoly with Menzies? Was avoiding an OFT probe its biggest success? Click 'Post a comment' to have your say.