Commenting on the firm’s full-year results, ceo Tim Davies told FoodManufacture.co.uk it had shifted as much volume as it could into its new Kirkcaldy facility, as planned.
In addition, he said: “We have won new volume at Silloth. We were running at 75% capacity there and we are now running at 92% on the back of winning new business.”
‘Focusing on ethnic flours’
The company had also brought new business into its Malden mill in Essex, he confirmed. “We are focusing on ethnic flours there, which will increase what we do through Malden.”
Combined sales for Silloth and Malden had been positive, the company reported.
The Kirkcaldy mill, which was commissioned in the summer of 2013, was now meeting all expectations in terms of performance and reliability, the company said.
It had delivered considerable benefits in terms of operational efficiency and had increased customers’ confidence in its ability to produce high quality flour, Carr’s claimed. It expected it to deliver further financial benefits in the coming financial year.
“We have seen a progression week-on-week in our learning to use systems and software to drive performance,” said Davies.
The portside location of its Kirkcaldy and Silloth mills gave Carr’s the flexibility to switch wheat sourcing between the UK and mainland Europe depending on the performance of harvests, it said.
The quality of the 2013 UK harvest, for example, had been higher than in 2012, but it had been just 12Mt, 2Mt below normal levels, so versatility of sourcing was proving essential.
In addition, Carr’s spread of sales across Europe and the US enabled its agriculture division to perform well in one region if strong harvests reduced sales in the other.
For example, a poor 2012-2013 wheat harvest led to strong sales of Carr’s feed blocks and fuel in the UK. But in 2013-2014, UK weather had been mild, delivering strong harvests and slashing sales here, while a harsh US winter had boosted revenues there.
Carr’s Milling Industries, which embraces agriculture, food and engineering divisions, reported overall revenue from continuing operations down 8.4% in the year to November 10, to £429M from £468.1M.
However, as a result of increased efficiencies, particularly in food and agriculture, pre-tax profit rose 7.8%, from £15.4M in the previous financial year to £16.6M. In addition, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation increased by 9.1%, from £18.7M to £20.4M.