Unipart announces financial results for 2016

  • Sales up by 3.5% (from £722.5m to £747.7m)
  • Profits up by 2.9% (from £27.5m to £28.3m)
  • Strong cash generation
  • New business includes major export contract to China
  • Unipart opens Apple repair centre in London
  • F1 digital technology applied to the Rail sector
  • Highest rating for corporate responsibility, best in the world for health and safety

Unipart Group has announced its financial results for the year ended 31 December 2016.

Turnover was £747.7m (£722.5m in 2015); profit before interest, tax and exceptional items was £28.3 million (£27.5million in 2015). The Group ended the year with a net cash balance of £15.2m (2015 £7.1m).

Commenting on the results, Unipart Chairman and Group Chief Executive John Neill said that the Group continued to deliver strong performance despite a slowdown in some markets due to Brexit and other factors.

“2016 was a strong year for Unipart in which we continued with the development of our digital transformation across all parts of the Group. Brexit may have caused many companies to pause in their investments, but one of the greatest challenges that companies face today is the disruptive and dislocating pace of change that will come from the integration of intelligent technologies such as robotics, artificial intelligence,billions of sensors and massive low cost computing power” he said.

“The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent. For the first time in history, technology is changing faster than the human ability to adapt to it. We are devoting significant resources to equip our organisation to be among the leaders in our sector at embracing and deploying these technologies.

“During the past 30 years we have invested in developing our people to solve problems, eradicate waste and to develop innovative new products and services to meet the real and perceived needs of their customers. Now, combining that creativity and motivation with the best technologies available, we will be able to enter new markets and provide innovative products and services for existing markets at a pace that we could not have dreamed of 30 years ago.”

Digital Investments

Key achievements from across the group in 2016 includeda number of digital investments such as developments in its Unipart Business System, an innovative and world-class IT system that enables global fingertip control of inventory while seamlessly integrating with dealer, distribution centre and financial systems.

Unipart Rail acquired a controlling stake in one of the UK’s leading technology companies, Instrumentel Ltd., which is a leader in the design and manufacture of telemetry systems. Instrumentel has successfully applied sensors in F1 and other combustion engines enabling accurate data collection at extreme temperatures. The application of Instrumentel technology will help to drive the digital modernisation of railways. For instance, ‘real time’ monitoring and diagnostics for remote locations can bring cost savings and efficiencies through applications such as predictive maintenance and energy metering.

Unipart also launched a new Digital Enterprise Management System providing a leading premium automotive manufacturer with a powerful sequencing and distribution centre management capability that has been deployed with speed and agility. This new system can now be rapidly customised for clients in multiple sectors. Unipart is also extending the provision of its Retailer Inventory Management System to Jaguar Land Rover retailersin a number of key markets.

MetLase, a joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Unipart, has continued to innovate with its patented tooling techniques to create solutions to engineering problems. This has included creating “smart enabled tooling” which demonstrates MetLase’s Industry 4.0 capability to speed processes, reduce cycle time and provide predictive maintenance facilities.

International Growth

Building on its partnership with McLaren Automotive, Unipart began the implementation of a new Distribution Hub in North America. Meanwhile, working with retailer Pro-Direct Sport, Unipart is providing logistics services from a new European fulfilment centre based in the Czech Republic.

Unipart secured a seven-year contract to supply engine components for Ford cars being produced in China creating around 40 new jobs in Coventry. Unipart is now one of only a small number of companies in Europe to produce gasoline fuel rails for Ford and other car manufacturers.

In 2016, Unipart established an Apple Authorised iPhone Repair Centre supporting Apple Service Providers in central London with same-day screen repair. The Unipart repair centre enables Apple Service Providers to provide authorised same-day service for their customers by facilitating repairs using express courier service.

At the same London address, Unipart also opened an Apple Authorised Service Provider. The London Unipart Apple Service Provider offers repair and diagnostics service for the whole range of Apple products for walk-in and pre-booked customers.

Unipart Rail’s diverse capabilities resulted in the business winning a five year contract with Anglian Water. Unipart will provide a full logistics service including warehousing, inventory management, distribution services, IT Systems through Remote Warehouse, customer returns and material planning.


The Group also won a wide range of awards during 2016. Unipart scored 100% in the Business in the Community 2016 Corporate Responsibility Index – the UK’s leading benchmark of responsible business, achieving five star status – the highest rating possible – for a second year in a row.

Unipart also received a record 10 Swords of Honour and five Globes of Honours from the British Safety Council, recognising excellence in health, safety and environment management across a number of its operations.

Other awards included the Customer Focus and Collaboration Award by Siemens Rail Systems. The Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, a partnership between Unipart and Coventry University, won The Guardian Business Partnership award and was also regional winner of the EEF Partnership Award.

Unipart was also cited as having the UK’s best employee wellbeing programme, received the Princess Royal Training Award in recognition of its in-house management training and development programme and was ranked ‘best in class’ for its leadership programme by TheJobCrowd, the graduate recruitment site that hosts thousands of ratings penned by the graduates themselves.

John Neill said that the Group’s achievements were due to the continued focus on driving mastery of The Unipart Way at every level of the business. “With The Unipart Way, we have one of the best business systems in the world for continuous improvement and innovation. We’ve also made a strategic commitment to enabling all our people to be the best at what they do through a programme that we call Gate to Great,” he said.

“That combination of deep knowledge and expertise in continuous improvement, coupled with highly skilled, highly motivated people who have access to the world’s best technology, is a formula for growth during a time when every aspect of industry is being disrupted. The Unipart Way and our culture of customer service continue to deliver critical advantages in navigating uncertain times.”