Higher prices for spreads including Clover and Country Life helped Dairy Crest to a 5% rise in profits for the past year.
The company said strong performances from its spreads and cheese businesses had “more than offset tougher trading in dairies”. Pre-tax profits for the year to 31 March were up 5% to £87.6m. Taking into account one-off costs, profits were £77.8m, the same level as last year.
Although group revenues fell 2% to £1.6bn, Dairy Crest managed to reduce its overall debt by £25m over the year.
“Our results for the year demonstrate the benefit of being a broadly-based business,” said chief executive Mark Allen. “We have again increased added-value sales and our five key brands have all performed well.”
Sales of Cathedral City were up 6% over the year, against market growth of just 2%. Butter brands Clover and Country Life grew by 9%, while St Hubert Omega 3 spread was up 10%.
Sales of Frijj were up just 3%, well below market growth for the category of 8%.
Allen warned of “higher input costs” in the year come. But added: “We have also been successful in making cost savings across the business to reduce the effect that commodity inflation is having on our customers.”
Profits crash at Robert Wiseman (17 May 2011)
Dairy Crest up on takeover talk (7 April 2011)
Robert Wiseman squeezes out Dairy Crest in milk deal with The Co-op (16 March 2011)