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Profits up at Air Partner but revenues tumble in freight division

October 14 - In its results for the year ended July 31 2011, Air Partner said its focus on core broking has delivered strong results, despite a difficult trading environment, with profits before tax up by 93 percent to GBP5.3 million (USD8.3); and overall

However, the comapny's Freight Broking division experienced a year of transition as it sought to rebalance its business and develop stronger connections with clients in the freight forwarding and transport sectors, 
following completion of a major government contract. As a result revenue was down 25 percent year on year to GBP41.8 million (USD65.8) (2010: GBP55.7 million/USD84.7) and profit before tax in this sector fell by 36 percent, to GBP0.2 million (USD0.315) (2010: GBP0.4 million/USD0.630).

Air Partner says that within the Freight Broking division the need for continuing diversification of the client base is well recognised and focus on this area has resulted in client numbers in the industrial and commercial sector increasing by 19 percent in the period under review.

The company says that growth of its international freight network continues to be valuable in locating local capacity and the team has extended its international reach successfully through General Sales Agency arrangements in the Far East, providing wide-bodied capacity to the Hong Kong and Shanghai markets.

Going forward, Air Partner says it needs to accommodate changes in the complexity of client needs, respond to increases in client numbers and further develop key products. In particular, it says it will aim to grow the contribution to Group profits from non-UK operations, whether from existing or newer developing markets. The company's largest offices outside the UK currently are France, Germany, Italy and the US and they have the greatest impact on non-UK revenues and profits.

Diversification of the business means looking towards new territories, whose economies are developing notwithstanding the fiscal concerns within the US and the EU. Detailed work is ongoing to establish a credible presence in Asia, with India a particular area of focus. The Group is also considering possible approaches to developing business further in South America and Africa. Provision has been made within the three year business plan for establishment of a presence in at least one of the BRIC territories, subject to careful consideration of the balance between risk and opportunity in each case.

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