Dairy Crest achieving profit goals

By Charlotte Eyre

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Milk

UK Dairy Crest said yesterday that profit for the year will meet
expectations, thanks to strong sales of its brands, cost cutting in
operations and price increases.

"Dairy Crest has had a strong trading performance in the first three months of the current financial year.

The Group's expectations for the full year ending 31 March 2008 remain unchanged."

Simon Oliver, Dairy Crest chairman said in a statement.

The dairy firm has worked hard over recent months to reach profit expectations, after rising production costs and a product recall in May created problems for the company.

Brands that are currently selling well include Cathedral City, St Hubert Omega 3, Petits Filous, Country Life Spreadable and Utterly Butterly, Oliver said.

The company has also boosted profits by tapping into the current trend for "healthy" products, he added, explaining that, "…much of our current research and new product development activities are focused on developing our health agenda."

Initial sales of a "lite" version of the Cathedral City cheese are particularly encouraging, Oliver said.

Reconstruction operations that have taken place this year include the introduction of a delivery service in the Surbiton, Surrey, and the closure of a factory in Totnes, Devon.

Oliver said that he hoped that the moves for improvement would allow the company to rebuild stock levels and then re-start promotional activity later in the year.

Dairy crest also increased the price of raw milk by 0.4 pence per litre at the beginning of July, and it will go up again by 0.6 pence per litre at the beginning of August, according to the company statement.

The firm experienced a dip in profits in May, after it was forced to recall its Clover butter spread, due to the discovery of mould in a batch of the tubs.

The recall cost Dairy Crest around £1m after insurance, as the company offered refunds to all customers who had bought the product.

In May, the company posted results for the financial year ending 31 March of 12 per cent, stating that sales from continuing operations amounted to £1,309m, of which £77.3m was profit.

The group profit for the year was £60.2m, the company said.

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