Gleaner Oils, the Elgin-based fuel distributor and filling-station operator, said yesterday it was heading for a 25%-plus increase in annual turnover this year.
Chairman Billy Laing said the high price of oil was adding to sales income at the business, which supplies fuels and home-heating services via operations throughout the north, north-east and Fife.
Gleaner’s reluctance to pass on the full hit of the higher oil price, however, made it difficult for the firm to maintain profits at previous levels, he added.
Even so, he said Gleaner achieved a year-on-year increase in profits for the first three months of 2008 as cold weather pushed up demand for heating fuels.
Mr Laing was speaking after annual figures from Companies House showed Gleaner made pre-tax profits of £487,593 last year, compared with a surplus of £655,752 during 2007. Turnover, however, broke through £100million during the most recent period.
Mr Laing said the £103.28million turnover achieved last year would mushroom to about £130million during 2008.
Gleaner owns 10 filling stations but supplies more than 80, mainly in the Highlands and Islands.
It also owns and operates a network of 10 distribution depots and delivers a wide range of fuel and home-heating services for Shell UK throughout the north and north-east.
Mr Laing said the firm had really tried to be fair in keeping price increases to a minimum amid the soaring cost of oil.
He also revealed that Gleaner was looking to expand its filling-station network beyond its current geographical boundaries.
Sites throughout Perthshire, Stirlingshire and Angus were being targeted for acquisition, he said.
Gleaner has also been steadily growing its liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) distribution business.
It now supplies LPG – which is significantly cheaper than petrol or diesel – to 32 filling stations.
In its accounts, Gleaner said that rising oil prices were an ongoing challenge for the business.
Its directors added: “In the latter part of 2007, in the retail filling-station market, we ‘price supported’ many of our small community stations when the continually increasing oil prices were hurting their sales and the viability of their business.”
Gleaner, founded in 1954, has about 170 employees on its payroll.