Princes Foods takes profit hit

By Rod Addy contact

- Last updated on GMT

Princes makes a range of branded canned and packaged fish, fruit, meat, ready meals, pies, pastes and juices
Princes makes a range of branded canned and packaged fish, fruit, meat, ready meals, pies, pastes and juices
Raw material cost increases and deflationary pressures hit Princes Foods’ pre-tax profit in the past financial year, according to a spokesperson for the business, although the company succeeded in boosting sales.

In the year to 31 March 2018, the company reported a decrease in pre-tax profit and operating profit, but a rise in profit from continuing operations and gross profit.

Raw material price increases and ongoing deflationary pressures have resulted in a reduction in our pre-tax profit and trading conditions remain challenging," ​said a spokesperson.

“We are implementing a strategic plan that prioritises employees, customers, consumers, suppliers and key stakeholders, as well as maintaining our commitment to integrity, partnership and service. We have seen the decisions we are taking impact our performance positively in recent months.

Strategic priorities

“We will continue to make progress in delivering our strategic priorities, and look forward to that positively impacting on our performance.”

According to results filed at Companies House, the company, which makes branded canned and packaged fish, fruit, meat, ready meals, pies, pastes and juices, chalked up pre-tax profit of £17.3m, versus £30.4m in the previous year. It recorded operating profit of £9.6m, down from £11.8m in the previous year.

However, revenue grew from £1.5bn to £1.6bn year-on-year.

Brexit

The company said it was taking steps to mitigate negative effects from Brexit, commenting in its strategic report: "The directors are assessing the impact of the UK's decision to leave the EU to ensure the group remains competitive in both the domestic UK market and the wider global market.

"Critically, the group and our suppliers need clarity and a smooth implementation period to ensure we can remain competitive and continue to operate effectively as one of the leading UK food and drink groups. This clarity is also vital for our 7,000 UK, European and Mauritian-based employees who are our absolute highest priority.

"The group is therefore closely monitoring the development of the EU exit process and we are executing a comprehensive engagement plan, which covers both industry and political stakeholders in Brussels and the UK."

Long Sutton redevelopment

Princes announced a major business review​ in 2018 in order to improve efficiency and performance. While the strategy includes the planned closure of its factories in Chichester and Newton Heath​ in 2020, affecting hundreds of jobs, it also involves the redevelopment of its Long Sutton canning site, securing 498 jobs.

Planning permission was secured for the redevelopment, which entails a new canned ready-meal line, raw materials warehouse, handling facility and processing kitchen, in November last year. These investments are in addition to continued investment in a new anaerobic digester and the implementation of a manufacturing execution system (MES) at the site.

In October, Princes announced that 100% of the tomatoes it processed from its Italian supply chain in 2018 came from farms with independent ethical accreditation.

Workers’ rights

The Ethical Trading Initiative also awarded Princes full membership status this year as a result of the commitment the company has shown to workers’ rights throughout its supply chain.

In January 2018, Princes confirmed it had reached over 90% responsibly sourced tuna for all brands in all countries. In May, Princes announced it would be implementing 51% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in all its soft drinks and edible oils bottles, encompassing brands and customer own-brand.

In addition to its Princes brand, Princes Foods also makes Crosse & Blackwell, Aqua Pura, Jucee and Napolina products.

Related topics: Business News, Ambient foods, Brexit Debate

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