Exel CEO eyes 10% profit growth

Exel CEO eyes 10% profit growth

The chief executive of British logistics provider Exel says his company is targeting revenue and pretax profit gains of 10 percent in 2004.

"There's enough new business in the bank to support a year of continued growth. We think we have momentum," Exel Chief Executive John M. Allan said in an interview with Dow Jones Newswires.

Allan said the company signed up GBP500 million ($908 million) of new contracts through the third quarter of 2003.

Exel will announce 2003 results in March and is expected to report 2003 pretax profit of between $260 and 263 million, up 10 percent from 2002. Revenue is expected to be $9 billion.

"We're confident of meeting market expectations," Allan told the wire service during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Excluding the impact of the weak dollar, he added, "the underlying rate of growth was somewhat higher."

Allan said the year is starting off "modestly," with strong sales in Asia, the U.S. and United Kingdom, but less so in Europe, where the strong euro is beginning to hurt exports.

Allan said two-thirds of Exel's revenue comes from the U.K. and the Americas, he said. Contract logistics accounts for half of its overall revenue.

Exel continues to target acquisitions. In 2003 it bought a dozen logistics companies, mostly in the pharmaceutical and healthcare fields, Allan said.

This year, the company plans to spend about $273 million to buy companies in the consumer, retail, tech and automotive industries, he said. Exel is also seeking similar deals in Asia.