The results, posted today (December 16) revealed profit after tax of £40.4M, with sales up by 15% to reach record levels of £1.74bn.
Its latest results confirmed the Liverpool-based group’s position as the UK’s largest supplier of canned food and the nation’s tenth largest food and drink manufacturer.
The Japanese-owned firm attributed the gains to organic growth across its core markets and the successful integration of acquisitions made over the year. Princes acquired two big canned production sites in East Anglia over the past three years.
Tomato processing and canning
It also formed a new firm in Italy, which was said to operate one of the most modern and efficient tomato processing and canning and packing sites in Europe.
During the same period, it had grown sales by 47% and employed an extra 1,350 people across its international operations.
Last year it invested in new warehouse and ingredient processing facilities at its soft drinks site in Bradford and a new production line at its edible oils site in Belvedere, Kent.
Sales outside the UK rose by 25% to £350M, compared with £280M in the previous year.
Princes md Ken Critchley, said innovation and partnerships had played key roles in the firm’s success. “We have responded to changing consumer needs with innovative new products for every meal occasion and, by expanding our distribution into more countries, we are reaching more shoppers, more often, with our growing product portfolio.
“Princes made excellent progress during the last financial year, driven by a commitment to becoming a first choice food and drink group. Growth has been achieved through a distinct strategic focus on the strength of customer and supplier partnerships across the group.”
Critchley added that the firm had boosted its recruitment of graduates and apprentices, as part of its commitment to provide long-term career opportunities and training and development.
The Princes Group now employs more than 6,000 people, operates 14 major food and drink production sites and has over 600 suppliers worldwide.
The group’s brands – in addition to Princes – include: Aqua Pura, Crisp ‘n Dry, Crosse & Blackwell, Farrows, Jucee, Napolina, Shippam’s and Vier Diamanten – the largest tuna brand in Austria.
It also makes and sells some Batchelors and Branston products under licence from Premier Foods and Mizkan Europe and some Flora and Olivio products under licence from Unilever.