peter utting

Pre-tax profits were up by nearly 60% at dried fruits, nuts and seeds supplier Whitworths despite it taking a restructuring hit of almost £1m after the departure of its CEO.

Turnover for the year to 2 May crept up 0.4% to £157.8m but that translated to a 58.1% rise in pre-tax profits to £11.2m due to exceptional items falling and a £3.7m boost from intercompany loans. Exceptional costs decreased from £3.6m to £2.1m during the year, but the company took a £958k restructuring charge in relation to the resignation of CEO Peter Utting in January after seven years at the helm.

He was replaced in October by former ABF baking division head Mark Fairweather. Other exceptional charges related to one-off origination costs and packaging stock write-offs as a result of industry changes in packaging regulations.

Whitworths stated: “Many of the company’s markets reflect today’s consumer trends of healthy eating, snacking and increased baking habits. These sectors continue to show positive growth [and] these trends will facilitate the company’s continued development focussing on new product innovation.”