Wiseman hit by low milk prices

22 May 2000

Wiseman hit by low milk prices

By FWi staff

FALLING milk prices have been blamed for a cut in profits for Scottish milk giant Robert Wiseman Dairies.

The East Kilbride-based company has announced that profits in the year to 1 April are down from 19.4 million to 17.9m.

Turnover rose from 257.2m to 286.7m.

This fall was attributed to a 6.6% decline in milk prices, reflecting competitive pressures and the weak Euro, which has drawn in cheap imports.

The company experienced a difficult second half of the financial year, during which it has been investigated by the Competition Commission.

But chairman Alan Wiseman said he was confident of the companys long-term strategy and believed profits would recover in the forthcoming year.

Earlier in May the commission concluded that Wiseman – which controls up to 85% of the Scotlands milk market – has been operating a monopoly north of the border.

Now the commission must decide whether Wiseman carried out any “uncompetitive” practices or had “exploited” its position

Mr Wiseman said he was sure the inquiry would not find the company to have abused its position.

In the same month Wiseman lost a seesaw battle to buy Unigates dairy division when Dairy Crest trumped its final 240m offer.

But Mr Wiseman said he was still looking for acquisition targets, and believed companys new dairy in Droitwich, West Midlands, would provide an excellent base for expansion.

He added: “The consolidation now taking place within the industry will undoubtedly present us with opportunities, which we plan to grasp appropriately.”

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