Stable raw material prices help boost profit at Whitby Seafoods

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FROZEN seafood manufacturer Whitby Seafoods increased profit and turnover last year thanks to its existing customers, brand strength and stable raw material prices.

The company, which sells to the foodservice and retail sectors, posted a pre-tax profit of £859,000 in 2013, up from £772,375. Turnover rose £32.4m, up from £31.5m the year before.

The family-owned group’s strategic report filed at Companies House said: “Turnover growth was achieved from existing customers, supported by the brand strength, arising from an ongoing commitment to product quality and customer service.

“Raw material prices remained at stable levels throughout 2013 which assisted performance in a competitive market. Continuing expansion in the retail sector complimented the brand’s historical strength in foodservice markets.”

The company, which employs 281 people, said the freezing facility completed on its Kilkeel site in Northern Ireland in late 2012 assisted raw material procurement and efficiencies in the business.

It recently invested almost £1m in the Kilkeel Seafoods plant, where 33 jobs are set to be created.

The group is financed by bank borrowings and shareholder equity, and during the year it increased its banking facilities to support the continued growth of the business and its working capital requirements.

Graham Whittle, the founder, heads up the business while his daughter Laura deals directly with retailers and wholesalers. His sons Edward and Daniel are also involved in the industry, with Daniel heading up Kilkeel Seafoods.