News: UK Company Reports 2020


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.


Orpington, Kent-based dairy traders Staple Dairy—now under new management after Derek Robbins retired and sold the business to the management in 2019—have reported turnover almost halved to £13.3m for the year to March 2020—without explanation—but operating profits were up 26% at £308,000, lifting average operating margin from 0.9% to 2.3%; pre-tax profits were up 40% at £290,000. Total equity was up 2% at £470,000. Dividends for the three directors were cut by 44% at £225,000. Staff numbers were down from 21 to 18.


Chris and Peter Timotheou’s Little Chalfont, Bucks-based Tims Dairy—who mainly supply wholesale markets with yogurt and cultured dairy products—have reported sales up 7% to £12.5m for the year to April 2020 with operating profits unchanged at  £630,000, an average operating margin of 5.1%. Pre-tax profits were also unchanged at £540,000. Dividends were unchanged at £288,000 wit directors combined salaries down 15% at £28,000. Staff numbers were up from 70 to 74 with the average wage at £26,000. Shareholder funds were up 5% at £3.63m.


Ornua Foods UK, the UK’s biggest supplier of retail packed cheese, have reported turnover up 16.1% to £411m in calendar year 2020, with pre-tax profit up 27% to £5.2m and operating profits up 16.7% to £6.77m—an operating margin of 1.6%. Net assets were up 7.6% to £38.4m. Investment in cutting and packing at their Leek facility added 7,000t of capacity, bringing the annual total to 110,000t, with up to 50,000t supplied by First Milk. Stocks of Ornua’s Irish brands Pilgrims Choice—the No.2 Cheddar brand in the UK—and Kerrygold—the No.3 butter brand—had increased substantially in the run-up to Brexit.