NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Price war hits Baxters Food Group profits

Baxters Image copyright Google

Baxters Food Group has reported a financial squeeze on its profits due to the supermarket price war.

The firm's financial results for the 10 months to last April were helped by the acquisition of an American processing firm, Wornick Foods.

That boosted revenue at its Moray headquarters from £226m for a full year to £249m for 10 months.

Pre-tax profits were £4.7m, following a loss in the previous year, due to exceptional costs.

With the accounts filed at Companies House, directors of the family-controlled firm, which is based at Fochabers, reported: "The volatility of food retail markets remained challenging, particularly in the UK and Canada.

"The market pressures of continuing food deflation and the difficulties of managing consumer expectations for strong price promotions against a backdrop of input price rises, remain significant challenges for the business."

Since the end of the accounting period in April, the firm has renewed its finance arrangements.

Directors added that the impact of the Brexit referendum vote, followed by a weakening of the pound, has been "generally positive for the group, reflecting the significant proportion of the group's activities and profits now generated outside the UK".

Baxters has subsidiaries in Canada and Australia, as well as Wornicks in the USA.

At the start of April, it employed 1,539 people, 858 of them directly - down from a total of 1,600 the previous May. Its wage bill in the ten month period was £35m.

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