Dairy Crest has warned of continued pressure on its dairies division in a pre-close trading statement, issued this morning.

Profits in the company’s liquid milk business remained under strain but it was looking at a range of options to restore the business to a satisfactory level of profitability, the company said. “Our business has faced sizeable input costs and we have dealt with these by focusing on our strong key brands and by driving efficiencies, said chief executive Mark Allen.

Dairy Crest’s leading brands – Cathedral City, Country Life, St Hubert Omega 3, Clover and Frijj – were expected to report sales up on last year, the company added, citing a strong performance in the second half of the year. In November, the company reported sales volumes for brands had fallen in the six months to 30 September following the recovery of higher input costs from customers.

Dairy Crest will report its preliminary results for the year to 31 March on 24 May. The company continues with its strategic review of its French spreads business but did not give an update.