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Kettle Foods makes market gains despite profits fall

08:30 21 May 2014

Kettle Foods factory. crisps being made at the Norwich factory.
Photo:Antony Kelly
Copy:Chris Starkie
For: EDP Business
EDP pics © 2007
(01603) 772434

Kettle Foods factory. crisps being made at the Norwich factory. Photo:Antony Kelly Copy:Chris Starkie For: EDP Business EDP pics © 2007 (01603) 772434

ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC © 2007

Premium snack company Kettle Foods will continue its strategy of using discount promotions to snap up market share despite a third year of falling profits.

New MD of Kettle Foods, Dominic Lowe.New MD of Kettle Foods, Dominic Lowe.

The Bowthorpe-based company saw its turnover rise £3.7m to £81.2m last year as it increased its share of the market by 0.3pc to 3.9pc.

But pre-tax profits fell £11.7m to £9.2m in 2013 – the third consecutive drop in profits since it hit £15.2m in 2010.

Dominic Lowe, managing director, said the business had continued to perform well and the brand reach was growing, with independent statistics revealing that 29pc of UK households bought Kettle products within the last 12 months.

“I believe very strongly that we need to support great consumer brands like Kettle with advertising campaigns,” said Mr Lowe. “We are very pleased with the results we have seen and we want to continue to invest.”

A company spokesman said pre-tax profits would have been broadly in line with 2012 except for a one-off cost to fund a business improvement programme.

“We have previously invested heavily in capital to provide additional capacity and increase factory efficiencies for future growth, and this continues,” the company said.

“Included in our £2.57m one time costs has been a significant outlay in a continuous improvement programme which is already yielding excellent results.

“Within the UK grocery market, the volume sold on deal remains high and crisps and snacks is one of the most promoted categories. “This market-driven promotional activity is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.”

It came as the accounts for the year ending July 31 2013 revealed that the EDP Top100 firm had again used tax planning measures, this time to shave £2.6m off its bill to HMRC.

The EDP previously revealed that Kettle’s American owners Diamond Foods had used tax-planning measures to pay no corporation tax in 2012 despite amounting UK profits of £11.7m.

The relationship between Kettle Foods and the firms linked to its parent company allow it to access a generous –but perfectly legal– tax-relief scheme and vastly reduce its bill to the government.

A spokesman for Kettle Foods said that the company fully complies with tax regulations in the UK and its approach is approved by HMRC.

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