Greenvale potatoes

Greenvale Potatoes owner Produce Investments saw operating profits grow by almost £1m during the six months to 26 December 2015 and reduced its net debt by almost £4m, interim results by the group have revealed.

The potato and daffodil supplier saw year-on-year pre-exceptional operating profits grow from £2.51m to £3.43m, however, the closure of its Kent Potato Company subsidiary on 1 December meant the company was forced to write off £1.87m in impairment charges for the cost of transferring growing and packing equipment to its other sites, and an additional £0.92m in charges to cover redundancy costs.

Despite these extra on-off costs, CEO Angus Armstrong described the company’s performance as satisfactory, with net debt falling from £26.63m to £22.79m year on year, while a continued focus on operational efficiencies” delivered an improvement in man hours per tonne of more than 13%.

The company’s total crop yield for 2015 came in at 5.4 million tonnes, compared with 5.74 million tonnes in 2014 and 5.58 million tonnes in 2013.

“This is a direct result from the required reduction in area planted, which was down 6.6% compared with last year,” Armstrong said. “As a consequence of this reduction in production, supply and demand is more balanced,” he added, and while retail markets would “always remain challenging” they had been relatively stable in terms of both volume and value compared with recent years.

“Both of these factors, along with closer alignment to the prevailing market conditions with one of our core customers, has resulted in an improvement in performance for the first six months of the year,” Armstrong claimed. “The group remains cash-generative and is committed to its long-term strategy of widening both its product and customer base, creating a more diverse and robust business model for the future,” he added.