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Scottish cheese maker reports profits plunge

Profits were down last year at the cheese maker.
Profits were down last year at the cheese maker.

Profits more than halved at leading Scottish cheese maker Lactalis McLelland last year.

The latest accounts for the company, which owns the Orkney, Galloway and Seriously Strong cheddar brands, show pre-tax profits of £6.85 million for the year ended December 31 2018 – down from £15.856m the year before.

The accounts, filed with Companies House, also reveal an 11.5% boost in turnover to £223.111m, from £199.854m previously.

UK sales increased to £203.923m, from £175.912m before, while sales to Europe and the rest of the world were worth £18.534m and £654,000 respectively.

In his statement accompanying the accounts, group managing director Hugues Meaudre said sales were up as a result of gains in private label contracts during the year.

“Profit before taxation was lower than the previous year due to higher cost of sales, which increased by 21,%,” added Mr Meaudre.

He said the business had continued to support the development of its main brands, which also include President and Galbani, with advertising and promotional investment during the year.

“Our main cheddar and continental brands performed well delivering category growth throughout the year,” added Mr Meaudre.

“Our branded organic milk, Rachel’s, suffered volume losses in the year and as a result was no longer viable to continue with milk sales in the UK.”

Looking to the future, he said: “The group seeks to continue to grow distribution of all products in all channels with focus on fast growing areas such as discounters and online.

“It will continue to grow its brands as well as own label lines and invest in longer-term collaborative relationships with all its customers and suppliers.”

The accounts reveal the firm employed an average of 439 staff during the year.

The highest-paid director took home a pay cheque of £445,000 – up from £373,000 in 2017.

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