Keepstem: the company harvests a range of products

Keepstem: the company harvests a range of products

Keepstem Ltd, the parent company of Lincolnshire Field Products, has reported a profit boost despite a fall in turnover for the brassica, potato and arable producer.

Turnover fell back to just over £92 million for the year to 28 January 2012, some 2.5 per cent down on the same period the year before. Finance director Aubrey Day told FPJ: “This was principally due to the group moving the focus of activity onto its core products.

“We deleted one or two of our traded lines and focused on our core lines that we grow ourselves, not just brassicas; nearly 50 per cent of our business is traditional arable crops such as potatoes, sugar beet, wheat and oilseed rape,” he added.

Pre-tax profits at the group increased to £741,076 and gross profit of nearly £3.7m was four per cent of turnover, compared to 3.4 per cent in the previous year.

“This was a general reflection of the impact of the severely cold weather in November and December 2010 on crops in the ground at that time,” explained Day.

“This affected both our cauliflower and arable crops and we lost 400 acres of sugar beet. Our January 2012 result is therefore more in line with January 2010.”

Looking ahead, Day described the current financial year as “challenging”. He said: “We have gone from drought to too much rain. Commercially it is a challenging year, but we expect turnover to be in the same ballpark as this year.

“We hope to maintain our profit margins but do not expect them to be any better.”

The group, which counts Asda and Tesco as major customers, is on the cusp of the second half of the year and the start of its busiest harvesting period.

“That will really determine how things will turn out,” concluded Day.