Carr’s Milling Industries’ food business, Carr’s Flour Mills, has seen an 8% increase in revenue, despite contending with last year’s poor UK harvest.
In the company’s latest interim results, published today (16 April), for the 26 weeks to 2 March, group revenue increased by 18.1% and pre-tax profit rose 36.2% to £10.1m, compared to £7.4m in 2012.
The Carr’s Flour Mills business, which produces speciality flours and a number of flour-based products for the industry, saw profit before tax up 10.9% during the 26-week period.
The company said: “The exceptionally poor UK harvest of 2012 led to a significantly greater dependence on overseas wheat, which, combined with higher transport and storage costs as well as lower-than-normal flour extraction rates, made for a difficult trading environment in the UK milling industry. Against this backdrop, Carr’s Flour Mills has operated exceptionally well.”
Carr’s added that that the quantity and quality of UK wheat was the poorest on record, with only 2% of all milling grade samples passing the normal specification parameters.
The company revealed that the reliance on imported wheat was “likely to continue in the short- to medium-term”, and its two mills in Kirkcaldy and Silloth, located at ports, would enable Carr’s Flour Mills to “leverage cost-effective access to both UK and European wheat”.
The closure of Rank Hovis’ Glasgow mill at the end of last month was mentioned as part of the report, revealing that it would remove some over-capacity within the Scottish market.
Carr’s new £17m state-of-the-art mill at Kirkcaldy was “progressing well”, the company added, and was on target to start production in September, with its efficiencies expected to further improve operating margins in the next financial year.
Other group financial highlights included an improvement in operating margin to 3.8%, up from 3.4% in 2012, and operating profit rising by 31% to £8.8m. The company revealed net debt as of 2 March totalled £19m, in comparison to £2.5m at 1 September 2012.