Elaine Watson With 60% of its business now in England and Wales, Robert Wiseman has become a truly national operator said the company, posting full-year results slightly ahead of analysts' expectations. Finance director Billy Keane said new or extended contracts with Sainsbury, Safeway, Somerfield, Makro and Bestway proved Wiseman could win new business south of the border ­ despite sector overcapacity ­ by being the lowest cost operator. A major investment in IT means electronic orders can now be automatically transmitted direct to filling machines in the dairies, maximising efficiency and reducing error, said Keane. Wiseman is also working with other processors in small trials in Scotland to rationalise milk collection operations and optimise tankers. Capacity at the Droitwich dairy has been increased to 270 million litres with the installation of a fourth filling line. A fifth will come online in October, taking capacity up to 350 million litres. In the year to March 30, sales volumes increased by 13.4% to 920 million litres with annualised sales for March reaching the equivalent of 1 billion litres a year ­ a major milestone. But analysts said the critical issue going forward was how long retailers allowed processors to hang on to money saved from lower raw milk prices. Wiseman's sales surged 23.6% to £371.1m on higher volumes, higher milk prices at the start of the year, and acquisitions. However, interest charges, costs relating to the reorganisation of the Lordswood business (£900,000), the OFT investigation into the middle market in Scotland (£700,000), and exceptional milk losses (£500,000) dented pre-tax profit by 10.5% to £16.5m. {{NEWS }}