2 January 1998

MD commits to UK

MD FOODS, the force behind Thomas the Tank Engine and Barbie fresh dairy products, has repeated its commitment to the UK dairy sector, despite another year of substantial losses.

While the Danish group as a whole raised profits 4% to £56m (615m Dkr) on turnover of £2.1bn (23bn Dkr) in the year to September, MD Foods Inter-national – of which the UK operation accounts for about 80% – showed a loss of £17m (187m Dkr). This was less than loss made in 1995/96, but this was mainly due to better performances in MDFIs other subsidiaries (in Saudi Arabia, Korea and Brazil), and favourable currency movements.

Commenting on the UK performance, chief executive, David Skellard, said the speed of improve-ment was accelerating, as £40m worth of investment over two years started to "kick in".

"We have turned the corner and expect continuing improvement in the coming year, though trading conditions will remain difficult," he said. &#42