Karro moves into the black as it becomes big name in pork sector

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Pork producer Karro Food Group​ ​said it is looking forward to further growth in 2016 following a return to profit in 2015.

The ​Malton-based firm​, which prod​uces ​bacon, gammon, sausage​s​, ham and cooked meats​, ​reported a pre-tax profit of £12.5m in the year to December 26, a big improvement on the previous year’s £12.2m loss.

Karro, which sources many of its animals from farmers who live locally to its ​North Yorkshire ​operations​, said​ 2015 ​was its third year as an independent business following ​its​ acquisition by ​private equity house​ ​​Endless.​

​Earnings rose from £8m to £26.6m while turnover fell £70m to £458m, reflecting the impact of falling pig prices, which were passed onto customers.

Di Walker, chair of Karro Food Group, said: “Following Karro’s transition to an independent business following its acquisition from VION by private equity house Endless three years ago, 2015 marked the group’s full transformation from a business undergoing a turnaround to a strong, dynamic and well respected player in the domestic and international pork market.

“We continue to build further on our very strong commercial relationships in the UK and globally and through ongoing significant investment in the business our production facilities are industry best in class.

“Looking ahead, Karro is well placed to deal with the strong competitive pressures that characterise the UK pork industry. 2016 has started well and we are confident of achieving further sustainable growth across the business over the months and years to come.”

She said that the group has strong farming links across Yorkshire going back many years.

“In fact many of the farmers in our Yorkshire agricultural base have been working with us for more than three generations.

“These local relationships are vitally important to us and this long-standing approach has helped us​ ​secure an award-winning reputation for optimal welfare standards and high quality pork products,​ ​ensuring that we have unrivalled production chain traceability.​“

She said that the welfare of Karro’s animals is of the highest priority both within Yorkshire and across ​the​ business.

​“​The majority of our pigs are bred outdoors and are kept and processed in the most humane way possible, with​ ​full adherence to UK welfare standards​,” she said​.

This commitment to welfare and humane farming was​ ​recognised ​by the ​Compassion in World Farming Award​s.

The majority ​of Karro’s products is destined for the UK, while the rest is exported to EU countries, the ​US, China, Australia, Korea, Japan and Africa.

“​Our export business is a​ ​key focus for the long-term success of our business​,” said Ms Walker.​

​“​As we operate through integrated farming,​ ​slaughter and processing operations we have full supply chain visibility. This gives our customers the​ ​confidence that our products are produced to higher animal welfare standards and also highlights​ ​the fact that we have the highest food safety standards in Europe.”