Naked Ultimate Noodles

Source: Symington’s

Naked owner Symington’s recorded £1.1m operating profits

Yorkshire-based food group Symington’s saw its profits jump in its first full year under new ownership as it cut back its ranges to focus on more profitable categories.

Accounts for the year to 31 December 2022 show the Naked and Chicken Tonight owner saw profitability improve significantly under the ownership of Italian food group Newlat, with operating profits of £1.1m compared with £150k in the previous year.

The jump in profits came despite annual sales falling from £135.9m to £117.1m.

A Newlat spokesman said the drop in sales reflected a “strategic decision to exit some less profitable businesses to favour more lucrative businesses in order to increase margins and generate positive profits”.

He added that the early months of 2023 had shown further “great momentum” with an overall increase in sales volumes against the same period in 2022.

Newlat first-quarter results on Friday revealed Newlat’s UK group sales were up 18.3% in the first three months of the year.

Contract manufacturing

Symington’s move to profitability continues the progress the group has made since it fell to a £6m loss in 2016 amid a raft of delistings in its cooking sauces portfolio, by shifting away from contract manufacturing and focusing on its own branded goods.

Newlat bought Symington’s in a £53m deal from former PE owner ICG in August 2021 as part of wider plans to become a “major player across grocery” in key Europe markets including the UK, Italy and Germany.

At the time, the group outlined plans to grow into a €1bn food giant with an “ambitious M&A strategy” and further plans to expand into the UK.

A spokesman said these plans were unchanged. “We are still committed to investing more in the UK, should a good opportunity arise,” he said.

In October, Newlat grew its business into France with the €20m acquisition of EM Foods, the French producer of baking and dessert mixes.

Total group revenues in in 2022 reached €741.1m, representing growth of more than 18%.