Tiptree sales up 10.6%

Essex-based jam and marmalade maker Tiptree has increased sales by 10.6% to exceed £40m for the first time, but profits were affected by abandoned factory expansion plans.

The update by parent company Wilkin & Sons showed a record turnover of £40.6m for Tiptree in 2015, which was driven by growth in the catering and ingredients channels of the preserves business. The retail arm of the company remained static, but Tiptree reported a rise in exports outside Europe.

Pre-tax profits fell by over 30% to £1.5m, after exceptional costs of £1.5m, which related to a scrapped factory redevelopment plan in Essex. Peter Wilkin, chairman of Wilkin & Sons, called the decision to halt the project to bring all manufacturing together on one site “extremely disappointing”.

Wilkin & Sons, which also owns Cole’s Puddings, Tiptree Patisserie and Thursday Cottage, is now planning to refurbish and extend the current site instead. Wilkin said rising costs “far outweighed” the benefit of having a larger factory.

He added the retail market would remain flat and growth would have to come from new categories and NPD.

The group has also made significant changes to its management team. Ian Thurgood stood down as joint managing director at the end of April, finance director Stuart James became managing director, and finance manager Georgina Offord became finance director.

Wilkin plans to hand over his chairman post to current joint managing director Walter Scott, which will come into effect in July. 

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