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Braeforge, the Southampton-based liquid milk supplier mainly to the catering, care homes and schools sectors, who also trade as Pensworth, have reported pro rata sales up 20% to £55.1m for the year to June 2018 (actually sales are reported as £68.9m for 15mths). Operating profits were down 24% at £456,000 but sale of milk rounds generated exceptional income of £3.36m. Before this exceptional item, pre-tax losses of £87,000 reversed profits the year before of £372,000. Dividends were up 21% at £333,000. It was reported late in 2017 that Braeforge were closing their Southampton dairy to transfer 60m litres of NRC milk processing to Medina’s Watsons milk processing plant, also close to Southampton, and their glass bottles processing to Wells Dairy in Shropshire. The moves were completed late last year. The company say they continue to be supported by two substantial shareholders: County Milk (to whom they made sales of £635,000 and from whom they made purchases of £2.6m) and Bernard Plumb, who via BWP (Cambridge) who is considered the ultimate controlling party of the business. They say their management team is led by Arthur Dunne and in March 2017 Dave Perry became a new shareholder as part of a planned management succession process. Remuneration of the highest paid director was up 26% at £194,000. Braeforge report that in mid-2018 Müller UK made a strategic decision to withdraw from the catering and middleground milk business; Müller and Dairy Crest had been the largest players in this sector and their absence created opportunities for companies like Braeforge, they said.
——Leicester-based liquid milk distributor Kirby & West, now controlled by Braeforge, have reported sales for the 15mths to June 2017 of £8.6m (up 10% pro rata) and pre-tax profits down to £64,000 (down 58% pro rata). Net assets were down 21% at £448,000. Dividends were cut from £300,000 to £175,000. Staff numbers were virtually unchanged at 42. During the period K&W made sales to Braeforge worth £4.16m and purchases from Braeforge of £5.8m.