More milk helps Robert Wiseman boost profits

Robert Wiseman Dairies has seen its first-half pre-tax profits increased by 81.5% to £21m, aided by a “substantial uplift” in milk volumes.

The company’s interim results for the six months ended 3 October 2009 revealed that sales volumes were 11.3% higher than 2008 at 851m litres, with turnover rising 7% to £424m, reflecting the lower milk values in that period. The price paid to Wiseman Milk Partnership suppliers increased by just 0.3p/litre over the period.

Wiseman picked up extra business with the Co-operative group and some other customers after Dairy Farmers of Britain went into receivership, and also increased capacity at its Bridgwater dairy from 250m to 375m litres. Deliveries to south of England customers from a new £14m depot at Amesbury, Wiltshire, have also just begun.

“With the completion of the investments at Bridgwater dairy and Amesbury depot we are well placed to continue the growth in volumes and to improve operating margins in the medium term,” chief executive Robert Wiseman said in a statement.

“We are pleased with the volume gains during the period and that we have delivered profits, on a pence per litre basis, consistent with the second half of the previous year.” Operating profit in 2009 was 2.54p/litre, compared with 2.55p/litre in H2 2008 and 1.74p/litre in H1 2008.

Read more about dairy markets in Phil Clarke’s Business blog.