Soup maker Baxters Food Group is back in the black after a year of US expansion grew sales.

Headline revenues at the Scottish firm jumped 13.9% to £337.9m in the year to 31 March 2018 from £296.7m in the previous financial year.

Newly filed accounts show a pre-tax profit of £7.3m after posting a £675k pre-tax loss last year. EBITDA before exceptional items was 15% higher at £34.3m.

Chairman Audrey Baxter said the improved performance reflected the benefits of North American expansion and the “historic investment and turnaround” of its Canadian operations.

Baxters was heavily involved in US emergency relief work, supplying supplied almost 9 million units of emergency meals to FEMA during the year.
In Europe it launched an enhanced hearty range and new recipes focussed on healthy ingredients. The brand also returned to TV advertising in recent months with the launch of its “We make super” marketing campaign.

Baxter also said the group may need to “build raw material stock resources” in advance of the UK’s 30 March Brexit deadline. 
Baxter said: “Unfortunately the related purchasing decisions may require to be made before the final path for Brexit is eventually determined. Commitment of significant sums of money to purchasing materials that may ultimately prove to be unnecessary is not an efficient use of the group’s capital resources, but nonetheless essential.”

The group incurred £7.8m of exceptional costs in the year – a lower sum than the £9.5m in 2016/17 – primarily related to restructuring, asset and goodwill impairments and more than £5m of “new and onerous contract costs”.