Norfolk property and vehicles group Saint Vincent Holdings grows through diversity

Peter Colby of Peter Colby Commercials.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Peter Colby of Peter Colby Commercials. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Diversification and investment have been behind the growth of haulage, vehicle hire and property rental group.

Peter Colby of Peter Colby Commercials.
Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Peter Colby of Peter Colby Commercials. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Diversification and investment have been behind the growth of a haulage, vehicle hire and property rental group.

Saint Vincent Holdings, the company behind several businesses including Peter Colby Commercials, Norfolk Truck and Van and Collease Truck and Trailer Rentals, saw its turnover rise to £44.5m for the year ended September 30 2016, up from £39.7m in 2015.

Pre-tax profits were also up, from £1.5m to £3.8m, with net assets also increasing 10% to £35m – as shown in recently filed accounts at Companies House.

Saint Vincent was founded in 1974 as Peter Colby Commercials Group and built its roots in haulage and vehicle hire, before spreading into the property market.


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Its footprint extends across the region with a wide property portfolio as well as smaller branches such as engineering firm Polgain, at Lowestoft, and self-storage company Easystore 24/7, which has sites in Norwich, Ipswich and Colchester.

The group said the property rental division had grown steadily with the portfolio increasing by £6m to £43m. Significant investment has been made with £3.6m spent on refurbishment of a 133,000 sq ft premises in Norwich, which has been leased to a blue-chip company, while £1.5m was spent on the former AKD Engineering site in Lowestoft.

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The commercial vehicle distribution and maintenance arm increased turnover from £18.3m to £24.6m – a 34% rise – with the company citing growth in after-sales as a key factor. It expects this to continue to perform well in the coming year after sealing a deal to maintain the fleet of a blue-chip food retailer.

In Saint Vincent's strategic report, filed with its accounts, the group said: 'The group has a strong pipeline of property development projects. Some of these have the potential to be completed and enhance property rental income in the current year.

'Truck distribution and maintenance, and engineering are mature businesses, which are likely to continue trading steadily in the coming years.'

However, Saint Vincent, which has its head office at School Lane in Sprowston near Norwich, said it had scaled back commercial vehicle hire, to focus on a more streamlined and profitable fleet - though with plans to invest further later this year.

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