Dairy Crest ‘well placed’ for UK growth following St Hubert disposal

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Dairy Crest ‘well placed’ for UK growth following St Hubert disposal

Dairy Crest ‘well placed’ for UK growth following St Hubert disposal
May 24
10:59 2013

Dairy Crest is “well placed” for growth in the UK through internal investment or acquisitions following the 2012 disposal of its French spreads business, St Hubert, according to the company’s CEO Mark Allen.

Commenting on Dairy Crest’s performance during the 12 months ended 31 March 2013, Allen said that the sale of St Hubert and the company’s subsequent restructuring efforts have “strengthened” its financial position.

Dairy Crest sold St Hubert to Paris-based Montagu Private Equity last year for €430m (£370m, $560m).

According to Dairy Crest, the sale of St Hubert “refocused the business on the UK.”

Over the last year, Dairy Crest also executed a number of cost-cutting, restructuring measures in an attempt to improve the efficiency of its business. In February 2013, the company reported that it was “on track” to exceed its annual cost saving target.

“The sale of our French spreads business and subsequent restructuring of our balance sheet has strengthened our financial position and leave us well placed to invest for growth in the UK, either internally or through acquisitions,” said Allen in a statement published yesterday.

“In line with our long term strategy we have continued to manage proactively the business and remain focused on driving efficiencies,” said Allen. “Taken together, our four key brands have increased their market share in the face of falling UK consumption. We have also stated to restore profits in our Dairies business.”

“Dairy Crest is today a more streamlined business, and all three of our product categories have encouraging medium-term profit growth prospects. Whilst we expect the consumer environment to remain subdued, we have strong foundations in place and trading in the current financial year has started in line with our expectations,” he added.

Allen made the comments on the back of Dairy Crest’s 2012 full-year results, which were published yesterday.

The firm reported revenue of £1.382bn ($2.1bn, €1.6bn) for the 12 months ended 31 March 2013 – a 9% decrease on the £1.515bn ($2.3bn, €1.76bn) reported in the previous year.  Profit for the year, however, jumped to £54.5m ($82.4m, €63.5m) – a significant improvement on the £17.1m ($25.9m, €19.9m) loss reported last year.

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