News: UK Company Reports 2020


Gwent, Wales-based Abergavenny Fine Foods, set up by Tony and Pam Craske 30yrs ago as a goats cheese business, have reported sales up 16% to £30.9m for the year to March 2020, reversing the previous year’s pre-tax loss of £850,000 into profit of £329,000 and an operating loss of £0.6m into £0.7m operating profit. The company, who reported the sale of their blended cheese business to Somerdale last month, said their turnaround was achieved by cementing their position with UK retail customers, more than doubling exports—mainly to Australia and the US—to £6.5m and controlling overheads. Staff numbers increased from 142 to 187. The business is diversifying into vegan and plant-based products under new MD Jason Rees, securing a seven-figure loan with HSBC last August, with plans to double production capacity over the next 3yrs and focus on plant-based snacking alternatives. They say they plan to increase plant-based and goats cheese product ranges by 20% this year with a view to increasing turnover by 30%. AFF said Christmas was particularly lucrative, with the company expecting to have generated 18% of its 2020 revenue during the four-week run up. Their best-selling plant-based product is ‘no-mozzarella’ style sticks.


Chester-based Meadow Foods have reported turnover down 6% to £429m for the year to March 2020, making them the 6th biggest dairy company operating in the UK on the basis of annual turnover, just behind Saputo UK. Now owned by equity finance groups, the lead one apparently being UK group Exponent, their figures are increasingly complicated. The company that started life and continue as Meadow Foods Ltd—with a mix of dairy ingredients produced at plants at Chester, Cheshire, Holme-on-Spalding Moor, Yorks, and Peterborough, Cambs—supplied with milk by 500 farmers across the country, have reported sales down 6% to £429.1m, operating profits down 5% at £24.3m, operating margin up from 5.6% to 5.7% and pre-tax profits down 7% at £23.9m. Shareholders funds were up from £67m to £87.1m. Staff numbers were up from 310 to 360. Corporation tax liability was down 8% at £3.3m. No dividends were paid. Meadow’s parent company is Swan Topco who bought confectionary ingredients company Nimbus in October 2019; Nimbus who operate a plant at Dolgellau in north Wales, report sales down 3% at £12.6m and pre-tax profits halved at £1.7m. One assumes that Swan Topco largely duplicate Meadow’s numbers (above), with sales mysteriously up 32% at £434.3m and operating profits down 16% at £5.2m. They claim to have paid Corp. Tax of £4.4m, more than doubled.


Rochdale, Lancs-based Pakeeza Dairies/Lancashire Farm Dairies—set up by the Zouq family 15yrs ago to produce natural yogurt but who have now diversified into a range of yogurts and fruit-flavoured lassi yogurt drinks—have reported sales up 19% to £45.0m for the year to January 2020 and operating and pre-tax profits up from £1.29m to £3.03m, increasing their average operating margin from 3.4% to 6.7%. Shareholder funds were up 40% to £9.6m. Staff numbers were up from 221 to 223. Annual dividend was unchanged at £45,000 and directors’ remuneration and pension contributions were up marginally at £57,000. Their tax charge was up from £175,000 to £333,000.



Charlie Payne’s Boroughbridge, North Yorks-based liquid milk processing operation have reported sales for the year to April 2020 up 6% at £92.1m. Operating profit was up from £485,000 to £1.26m (an average operating margin of 1.4%) after recording a bad debt charge of £870,000 the year before. Interest charges were up from £210,000 to £250,000. Pre-tax profit was up from £275,000 to £1.0m. Their tax charge was up from £53,000 to £113,000. Capital expenditure was up from £1.17m to £1.25m including a new depot near Birmingham. Shareholder funds were up from £5.0m to £5.9m. The highest paid director was paid an unchanged £120,000. Once again, no dividends were paid. Average staff numbers during the year from 138 to 143.