Scotland’s largest meat processor, JW Galloway, has blamed Brexit preparations for a 48% drop in profits last year.
Accounts filed with Companies House show the family-owned business, which owns Scotbeef, Vivers Scotland and Scotbeef (Inverurie) Ltd, posted pre-tax profits of £4.372 million for the 53 weeks to March 1 2020.
This is down from a pre-tax profit of £8.398m for the 52-week period ending February 24 2019.
Turnover at the group, which employed an average of 1,175 staff in the year, was up 4.5% to £384.452m. Sales within the UK were up 4% to £334.993m, while export sales increased by £2.569m to £39.459m.
In his report with the accounts, managing director Robbie Galloway said: “Brexit planning within the sector undoubtedly had an impact on the financial performance in the year.
“Producers stockpiled meat in preparation for the anticipated March departure; when the extent of the delay became known and the product was released into the market, sales pricing was adversely affected.”
He said political uncertainty had made export markets challenging during the year and the company had invested in its facilities, which service export customers, to ensure a smooth transition over to UK-based sales if necessary.
“The group has successfully navigated its way through the initial effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, including overcoming initial business disruption caused by panic buying across meat products and the implementation of appropriate social distancing meaures and protocol to ensure the health and welfare of colleagues and ensure business continuity,” added Mr Galloway.
He said the measures were under constant review and the company had invested in specialist equipment and facilities to allow the transfer of production between units should a temporary site closure occur.