Carr’s Milling Industries net debt has risen by £6.1m, according to latest reports.

According to the group’s statement for the 19-week period to 11 January 2014, net debt as at 30 November 2013 was £28.2m, compared to £22.1m as at 31 August 2013.

The company said the cash outflow was the result of “seasonal working capital increases in the agriculture division”, and the ongoing investment programme throughout the group.

Undrawn banking facilities at 30 November 2013 were £14m.

The company said its food division was “trading ahead of last year’s performance” and in line with expectations. Following investment at its new mill at Kirkcaldy, which is now fully operational, Carr’s is “beginning to see the financial benefits linked to the improved operational efficiencies”. This combines will the commercial benefits, it said, from having a state-of-the-art mill in a prime location.

Total sales volumes across the three mills were reported to be ahead of last year, and the group is optimistic about future opportunities.

Tim Davies, chief executive, said:“We are pleased with the start we have made to the financial year. Against a challenging backdrop of a mild start to the winter in the UK, a vastly improved wheat harvest, and the continuing delays in the procurement of orders from the UK nuclear industry, trading remains in line with the board’s expectations.

“We are making good progress across each of our divisions, helped by our continued product innovation and sustained investment in our people and assets, so that the business is well placed to ensure a long-term competitive advantage. We will continue to explore opportunities to grow the business, both domestically and overseas.”

Subject to shareholder approval at today’s annual general meeting, the proposed final dividend of 16.5 pence per share will be paid on 17 January 2014 to shareholders on the register at close of business on 20 December 2013.

The company expects to issue its interim results for the 26-week period ending 1 March 2014 on 14 April 2014.