The successful integration of two mills and strong sales of speciality flours have helped Cumbria-based miller Carr’s notch up healthy sales and profit increases.

For the 52 weeks to 2 September 2006, Carr’s Milling Industries announced that its food division increased its operating profit to £3.3m from the previous year’s total of £2.3m. Turnover reached £55.7m, up from £48m in 2005.

Carr’s three mills in Cumbria, Fife and Essex operated at near capacity throughout the period. CEO Chris Holmes told British Baker the mills still had some spare capacity, but the company is "always looking for acquisitions if the opportunity is right".

Higher-margin speciality flours are performing particularly well, while the Kirkcaldy and Maldon mills, acquired from Meneba in November 2004, benefited from a full year’s trading and efficiencies implemented since acquisition.

Carr’s warned that the coming year would present challenges. Chairman Richard Inglewood said: "The massive increase in wheat prices, combined with high-energy costs, will make it a tough year."

Holmes said Carr’s would introduce a second flour price rise, following one earlier in the year, of £25 per tonne before Christmas.