Family-owned business Simpsons Malt Ltd, has reported a positive set of results for 2018, with a 6% increase in annual turnover to £155.6 million for the financial year ending December 31, 2018.

Pre-tax profits dipped slightly on last year to £7.5 million, due to  inflationary pressure on production costs and higher than anticipated processing losses.

Tim McCreath Simpsons

The independent group that includes maltsters Simpsons Malt and agricultural trading divisions McCreath, Simpson & Prentice (MSP) and John Guthrie Ltd, continued its ongoing investment strategy, with significant upgrading of the company’s malting plant at Tivetshall St Margaret in Norfolk.

Headquartered in Berwick-upon-Tweed, the company credited the increased turnover to strong demand from the brewing industry for its speciality malt, as well as the continued growth in the distilling sector.

Simpsons Malt managing director, Tim McCreath (pictured), said: “In what has been a challenging year for barley production, we are pleased to report a strong financial performance for 2018. Turnover has increased and we have seen significant investment in the plants, infrastructure and our people. Any profit loss can be attributed to inflationary pressure on production costs and higher than anticipated processing losses.”

As active supporters of the local community, the Simpsons Malt group donated sponsorship of £67,000 (£46,000) to local organisations and events, including the Berwick Food and Beer Festival, and Curfew Run. Alongside this, a donation of £18,000 was made from the group to its charitable arm, the Simpson McCreath Trust, to support local community projects with nearby schools and community groups. 

A huge advocate of investing in its people, employee numbers grew to 263, with recruitment across production, transport and sales roles.

High standards

Merchant divisions, MSP and John Guthrie Ltd, also reported improved turnover and profitability, and this was attributed to the high standards of grower service and the strong sales in fertiliser, seed grain and agrochemicals. Grain trading margins remained static despite challenging climate conditions.

Looking ahead, McCreath said: “We are in a solid position progressing in 2019 across both businesses, Simpsons Malt and MSP. The prospects for the malting business remain positive, with global malt demand expected to remain strong. Furthermore, inflationary pressures are stabilising and any increased malting barley costs are reflected in sales values.

“I would like to thank all our Simpsons Malt team who continue to drive high standards and innovation across the business, as well as our farmer growers and brewing and distilling customers who are a much valued part of the business.”

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