The company reported operating profit before non-recurring items and restructuring of £186.1m, up from £102.2m in the previous year, on group revenue of £2.11bn, up 7.6% from £1.96bn. The group’s pre-tax profit returned to the black, from a loss of £80.7m in 2018 to £127.2m last year. In the UK, revenue grew by 0.7%.
Pladis stated it had made considerable advances in health and nutrition. “In 2019 we reduced the sugar content in nine of our best selling McVitie’s biscuits (UK), which account for over 50% of McVitie’s value sales in the UK, without impacting on taste.
“We also launched products with sugar levels below PHE’s [Public Health England’s] sugar target, providing consumers with choice. We also reduced the portion size of our McVitie’s Minis range, so that each pack contained less than 100kcal.”
Health and nutrition
The company said it would keep supporting consumers’ health and nutritional wellbeing by:
- Introducing calorie caps per portion;
- Redefining its portfolio to enhance its nutrition credentials;
- Clear nutrition information on pack and healthy eating advice on its corporate website
In June, Pladis published its annual biscuit review, which claimed UK biscuit sales had climbed by £66m, driven by brands optimising ranges and focusing on core products. The entire category was worth £2.7bn in 2019 and the sector was on its way to unlocking a £264m opportunity in the next two to three years.
The firm said it continued to press on with a detailed corporate social responsibility agenda, which has led to all seven of its UK factories and offices using 100% renewable electricity.
Referencing the effects of COVID-19, which fell after 2019 results were compiled, Pladis stated: “The group’s business has experienced an initial uplift in demand from its customers in several geographies. In order to service this, and to manage risk arising from the pandemic, the group have purchased some addition supplies of ingredients and packaging, used overtime and agency staff to backfill employees required to self-isolate and implemented additional hygiene and social distancing practices across our sites in line with local guidance.”
Longer-term outlook was uncertain, the company said. However, if the pandemic pushed parts of the global economy into recession, businesses with strong brands, flexible and agile supply chains and engaged workers could emerge stronger, it said.
The group reduced annual investment to £41.5m, increasing its focus on boosting the efficiency of existing fixed assets.