Profits fall at Del Monte UK as prepared sales slide

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Martyn Fisher

BY MARTYN FISHER

Profits fall at Del Monte UK as prepared sales slide

The business also saw turnover for the year ending 26 December 2014 fall from £62.4 million in 2013 to £39m

Profits fall at Del Monte UK as prepared sales slide

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Del Monte UK has seen a sharp drop in turnover, and gone from a pre-tax profit to a loss, after enduring lower sales of fresh prepared fruit and green bananas.

The business, which serves retail and foodservice clients, saw turnover for the year ending 26 December 2014 fall from £62.4 million in 2013 to £39m – a slump that puts its position in the FPJ Big 50 Businesses in jeopardy.

Meanwhile, after recording a pre-tax profit of £157,000 in the year to 27 December 2013, Del Monte UK posted a pre-tax loss of £369,000 in 2014.

In a report accompanying the accounts, held at Companies House, the business noted that the loss for the year included £258,000 of goodwill amortisation, which is now “fully amortised, combined with a loss on fresh prepared fruit resulting from lower sales.”

Restructuring costs of £87,000 were also incurred to reduce operational costs for fresh prepared fruit, and to avoid future losses.

Speaking in the report, Del Monte UK MD Martin Selley said smaller sales of fresh prepared fruit contributed £18.6m in lost turnover, while lower green banana sales contributed nearly £5m to the slump.

The average number of employees in the business also shrunk in the 2014 financial year, from 274 in 2013 to 189 in 2014, principally relating to a reduction in employees at the firm’s fresh prepared fruit site in Wisbech, which underwent an employee restructure.

However, the company made it clear it is not all doom and gloom. Looking forward, Selley said: “Consumers are becoming more aware of the importance of a balanced healthy diet, which should include fruit as a daily component. It is widely reported that a balanced diet should include a minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables every day.

“The directors aim to maximise this potential by focusing on new product development to increase its range of prepared fruit snacking products, so providing the consumer with a greater offering to meet the healthy meal occasion, and achieve the 5 A DAY goal.

“The directors are focused to generate future revenue growth, constantly review the cost base and strive to optimise efficiences to ensure the business remains competitive. The directors are confident that this strategy will deliver increased revenues in 2015 and beyond.”

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