Independent maltster Simpsons Malt has reported a solid set of results for 2016 following ongoing infrastructure investment and global sales.
The family owned company, that includes agricultural trading divisions McCreath, Simpson & Prentice (MSP), and John Guthrie Ltd, credited a positive end of year mainly on increasing opportunities within the global brewing industry and continuing demand from distilling customers.
The business reported a marginal decrease in profit before tax to £9.3 million (£9.9m) for the financial year ending December 31, 2016, with turnover dipping to £143.8 million (£160.7m).
Simpsons Malt, which is based in Berwick-upon-Tweed, with another malting plant at Tivetshall St Margaret in Norfolk, continued to invest heavily in the business. During 2016, the group capital expenditure was £6,625,000 (2015: £6,900,000) with its new malt packaging facilities and warehouse at Tivetshall fully commissioned in the year.
Managing director, Tim McCreath (pictured), said: “The group’s malting business performed as expected, with malt volumes falling short of last year’s record performance. This was due to a marginal decline in distilling malt volumes not being fully offset by growing brewing volumes. Malt sales values declined during the year due to further decreases in malting barley prices. These factors combined to reduce both turnover and profit before tax.
“The prospects for our malting business remain extremely positive. Distilling markets are relatively flat in response to recent weakness in whisky sales. However, whisky sales in 2016 have shown positive signs and whilst spirit production is expected to lag this sales growth, the long-term opportunities for this sector remain positive.
“Brewing opportunities continue to grow and we are well placed, through our recent investments and quality of malt, to benefit from a rapidly changing and increasingly specialised global brewing market.”
He added: “MSP and John Guthrie have experienced a challenging year as a result of tightened profit margins in the agricultural sector. However, they continue to stand firm, in an industry facing ongoing pressure on farm net income. Cereal values have only seen a modest recovery in value and therefore the prospects within this sector remain challenging.
“However, our high standards of grower service and our sustainable approach to malting barley procurement leaves us well placed to manage this challenge.”
Looking ahead, Tim said: “We are incredibly positive for the future of Simpsons Malt, and will continue to invest heavily in the business and our people to ensure we continue to be world leaders in our industry.
“With further investment in speciality malt production facilities expected to be commissioned in 2017, we will continue to lead by quality and innovation for future success.”