19 December 1997

Spring closure for malt plants

PAULS Malt is to close two of its plants, Gainsborough and Louth, by the spring as margins continue to suffer.

"The malt market continues to be extremely competitive and this is being compounded by the strength of sterling," says managing director, David Wilkes. "It is very much a buyers market and we have had to become more efficient."

The closures will take out 60,000t of production with the loss of 40 jobs, though this will be more than made up for when 100,000t of extra capacity comes on stream at Bury St Edmunds next year. The combined effect will be to lift Pauls Malts output to 440,000t a year.

Half of company throughput is destined for the export market, and this will be supplied principally from Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich. Other maltings at Knapton and Wallingford will supply the UK brewing and food manufacturing industry, while the three Scottish plants – Buckie, Carnoustie and Glenesk – will provide malt to whisky distilleries.

&#8226 Pauls Malt, together with feed business BOCM PAULS, are still up for sale, following parent companys Harrisons and Crosfields decision to divest them. Profits in the two businesses halved to £7.7m in the first half of this year.