Courier company Nightspeed Group was bought by venture capital-backed managers for £13m in 1995, and sold on to Bristol-based Amtrak for £35m in 1999. During its brief period of independence, Nightspeed extended its secure courier operations by branching out into the delivery of computer parts, software and pharmaceuticals. In 1998 Nightspeed became the only parcel courier with British Security Industry Association approval, and it has since carried everything from medicinal leeches to knives collected under a police weapons amnesty. Managing director Ian Pickford says Nightspeed, based in the West Midlands, successfully tapped into these markets by ensuring that clients got on-time deliveries of undamaged parcels. It was one of the first companies in the UK to offer bar-code tracking of parcels and on-line delivery information. This high margin secure work has driven up profits by 38% pa, from £1.3m in 1995 to £3.6m in 1998. Sales rose 7% pa over the same period to £34.7m.
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