Miller warns on profit

CARR‘S MILLING Industries has posted financial results in line with expectations, showing profits growth in spite of tough conditions in the core flour and farming businesses.

Carr‘s said its turnover in the half year to March 3 was up 9.4% to £78.4m, despite flooding at customer McVitie‘s biscuit factory in Carlisle and a fire at the Rathbones bakery.

Profit was up 11.6% to £3.2m, once earnings from the disposal of Bendalls Engineering were discounted, with agriculture and food contributing the largest share.

Carr‘s £4.7m acquisition of two new mills from Meneba in November also gave a boost to earnings in the food division, which was buoyed by low wheat prices.

But the group‘s important agriculture division is finding trading tough, especially in animal feeds, and has warned that full-year profit will be lower than last year.

“Profit margins in agriculture are always slim,” said chief executive officer Chris Holmes, who is aiming at £5.8m profits for the 12-month period.

“Over capacity in the north-west‘s animal feed mills means that a lot of feed compounders are competing on lower prices.”

The fertiliser trade has been sluggish and unpredictable this year because of high gas prices.

The company‘s share price, which has been volatile after a 12% fall in March, was up about 10p to 552p on the results.

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