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Potato group Bartlett sees drop in profits

Rooster potatoes are processed at Albert Bartlett, Airdrie.
Rooster potatoes are processed at Albert Bartlett, Airdrie.

A decline in own-label fresh potato sales has been blamed for a drop in turnover and profits at one of Scotland’s most well-known potato companies.

Accounts for Albert Bartlett Holdings Ltd, which runs the popular Albert Bartlett potato brand, reveal the group posted a 9.6% decrease in turnover to £154.502 million for the year ended May 31 2018.

Pre-tax profits were also down 12.8% to £6.123m, from £7.022m before.

The accounts show an 11.6% drop in UK sales to £142.969m, from £161.776m. Sales to the rest of Europe increased more than three-fold to £1.892m, while sales to the rest of the world were worth £9.640m.

In a report accompanying the accounts, the group’s only director, Ronnie Bartlett said the trading performance of the company had been satisfactory during a year of “challenging market conditions which continue to put significant pricing pressures on the entire supply chain”.

He said the drop in turnover, caused by a reduction in own-label fresh potato sales, had been offset to some extent by growth in frozen volumes, the international business, and the Albert Bartlett brand.

“We have seen good growth from our frozen business which is now well established in the marketplace and able to adapt its offering to suit changing consumer tastes with new, innovative products,” said Mr Bartlett.

“Our strength in branded Albert Bartlett products in both the fresh and frozen aisle is complemented by our premium exclusive varieties, all of which continue to be extremely well received by the customer.”

He said the USA business continued to grow, and the Scotty Brand continued to innovate and bring new products to the market.

On the year ahead, Mr Bartlett said the company planned to grow its new range of chilled potato products.

The accounts also reveal that Mr Bartlett was paid just over £1.5m in the year.

He received a salary of £1,045,901 and a dividend of £500,000.

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