THE UK's largest independent malt firm has reported another increase in turnover and achieved better-than-expected profits of nearly £9m last year.
Berwick-based Simpsons Malt recorded sales of £135m in the 12 months to the end of December 2011 compared with £109m a year before. However, its level of annual profit before tax was down slightly at £8.9m, from £9.4m in 2010.
During the financial year the group acquired John Guthrie Limited, an agricultural merchant based in Angus, Scotland, and also spent over £3m on a new malting barley storage and intake facility at its site on the Tweedside Trading Estate.
Annual production is now over 230,000 tonnes of malt and there is storage for a similar amount of barley.
In the company’s annual report, managing director Tim McCreath reflects on “yet another year of investment, achievement and success.”
Last year the company spent £3m on new storage facilities and plans to spend another £3m on new facilities this year.
McCreath said: “Recent investments enable the group to deliver its core strategic objective of delivering a secure and sustainable malt supply chain.
“We have not been immune from the economic challenges but through a combination of prudent investment and a sterling effort by management and staff to maintain growth, we have emerged from 2011 with our affairs in good order.
“Supporting UK agriculture, consolidating supply relationships and improving working practices with suppliers and customers to ensure that a sustainable supply chain can deliver quality product, lies at the heart of our company’s remit.
“We are confident that agriculture and whisky distilling will remain resilient as global demand for food and premium brand whisky increases.
“The UK brewing sector as a whole remains flat, but continues to be an important sector with our brewing customer base. The prospects for the group therefore remains positive.”