Family-owned Simpsons Malt has reported a positive set of results for 2017 following an increase in export sales and continued investment in infrastructure over the last year.

Year-on-year sales volumes increased across its main sales markets of brewing and distilling, with export sales increasing by 21%.

The business also reported an increased turnover of £145.6 million (143.8m) for the financial year ending on December 31, 2017, with a marginal decrease in profit before tax to £8.2 million (£9.3m).

The independent group, that includes maltsters Simpsons Malt and agricultural trading divisions McCreath, Simpson & Prentice (MSP) and John Guthrie Ltd, credited the optimistic end of year results to increasing demand from the brewing industry around the globe, as well as the continued opportunities in distilling.

Infrastucture investment

Simpsons Malt, headquartered in Berwick-upon-Tweed with another malting plant at Tivetshall St Margaret in Norfolk, continued its infrastructure investment over the course of the year.

Group capital expenditure was £6,532,000 (£6,625,000) with continuing investment in speciality malt production facilities that have doubled capacity over the last 18 months. The final phase of this investment was commissioned in January 2018.

Tim McCreath SimpsonsSimpsons Malt managing director, Tim McCreath (pictured), said: “Despite a slight drop in profit, it’s been a really positive year for Simpsons Malt in challenging circumstances. We’ve increased sales volumes and value and the sight decline in malting profitability can be attributed to raw material costs and inflationary pressure on operating expenditure.”

Merchant divisions, MSP and John Guthrie Ltd, experienced improvement in both product profitability and sales volumes. The high standards of the Simpsons Malt grower service and sustainable approach to malting barley procurement helped deliver positive outcomes during harvest 2017 for both growers and the Group.

Commenting on the performance of the merchant divisions, Tim added: “Grain trading continues to be a challenge in a sector suffering from intense competition and low profit margins. However, grain trading is just a part of our profitability and overall prospects for the merchanting business remain positive.

“The prospects for our malting business remain really positive and as we progress into 2018 we are very optimistic that malting volumes will continue to increase. This is particularly true in distilling malt where long term prospects remain positive, and speciality malt, where interest in our range of products continues to be strong.”

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