Ambitions to significantly grow market-leading Young’s Seafood have been highlighted after a challenging year was navigated, maintaining sales over the £10 million a week mark.
Resilience has been praised in the latest results for the company, one set against a backdrop of inflationary pressures following its buy-out by Canadian giant Sofina. It reported a 3.5 per cent drop in turnover from £597.1 million to £552 million, over a fortnight longer period to March 26, 2022.
It meant a slip from weekly sales of £11.2 million to £10.8 million on the previous year dominated by stay-at-home eating through the Covid lockdown measures.
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In the strategic report accompanying the results, chief financial officer Andrew Rutherford, said: “The period has seen unprecedented labour and supply chain challenges in the food industry. Cost inflation has been significant in utilities, indirect materials and labour. Despite this challenging environment, at 4 per cent EBITDA, the company is a strong and sustainable player in the market, delivering a resilient performance and proactive management of inflation recovery and labour availability in competitive markets.”
Staff numbers rocketed from 2,272 to 3,078 as production roles increased, with many agency operatives also made permanent as the labour position was solidified post-Brexit.
While management and administration also swelled at Ross House, the largest jump was on the factory floors, where a further 743 staff were added.
Bosses said there had been a significant focus on operational improvement, incorporating best practice from the Sofina ways of working and leveraging significant investment in Young’s to drive increased capacity, throughput and efficiencies.
Profit came in at £12.4 million, down from £21.3 million - having turned round a £10 million loss from the year prior.
Mr Rutherford said: “Young’s Seafood is well placed to deal with the ongoing industry-wide challenges and strong competitive pressures that characterise the UK seafood industry and is preparing for significant further growth in the years to come under the ownership of Sofina.”
Young’s, together with pork-based stablemate Karro, was acquired in April 2021 from Capvest, having been brought together as Eight 50 Food Group by the equity house. It had previously owned Young’s until 2008, when Lion Capital pounced.
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