Westbridge Food Group hit by rising costs and weak pound

By Gwen Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Westbridge Food Group posted its full-year results
Westbridge Food Group posted its full-year results
Sales and profit dipped at poultry processor Westbridge Food Group because of rising costs and a weak pound.

Turnover for the company fell 3% to £296m for the year ended 31 December 2017. Westbridge cited a reduction in commodity prices and less trading of commodity meat products as the reason for the fall.

Increased commodity costs and the weakening of the pound led to a 50% operating profit drop, to £2.9m.

However, a statement by Westbridge’s board said the year’s results were in line with the company’s expectations.

‘Competitive marketplace’

“The outlook for the company year is positive against a competitive marketplace especially in the retail sector,”​ said the statement.

“The group, however, operates in a range of markets and channels and the directors expect to achieve satisfactory earnings.”

Worcestershire-based Westbridge manufactures and supplies products to food companies globally and specialises in raw, coated, part and fully cooked proteins, desserts, vegetables and party food. The manufacturer owns operations in Merseyside, Thailand and China.

In April last year, Westbridge was acquired by CPF Investment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Thai firm Charoen Pokphand Foods, in a deal worth £60m.

Export opportunities

Charoen Pokphand manufactures animal feed, cooked meats and processed meat. The Thai business said the deal with Westbridge would increase export opportunities to the UK and continental Europe.

A number of food and drink manufacturers have posted their full-year results over the past month.

Dairy processor Müller UK & Ireland posted an operating loss of £132m for the 12 months ended 31 December 2017​, as the company continued to target cost-cutting measures.

Meanwhile, Finsbury Food Group’s financial struggles reported in its preliminary results – following the sale of an unprofitable plant​ – should be set in the context of the challenging bakery market, business consultancy City Index claimed.

Related topics: Meat, poultry & seafood

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