Record sales in year of expansion for Princes

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
9:00 AM

Princes, the international food and drink group, which employs more than 1,000 people at production sites in Wisbech and Long Sutton, achieved record sales of £1.74bn in the year to March 31, according to its latest report and accounts.

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The company grew sales by 15pc during the year and generated a profit after tax of £40.4m - compared to £31.3m in 2012 - by continuing its long-term strategy of being a first choice producer and supplier of market-leading food and drink brands and products.

Princes is now the country’s largest supplier of canned food and, based on its previous year’s financial performance, ranks as the 10th largest food and drink company in the UK.

The company achieved organic growth across its core markets and successfully integrated acquisitions during the year.

Over the past three years it has acquired two major canned food production sites in East Anglia and formed a new company in Italy that operates one of the most modern and efficient tomato processing, canning and packing sites in Europe.

Its ongoing programme of brand investment and development included the re-launch of the iconic Crosse & Blackwell brand with a range of canned soup and vegetable products sold in supermarkets and convenience stores across the UK.

The soups are the first in the UK to be awarded the prestigious Good Housekeeping Institute accreditation and continue to be supported by a significant marketing investment.

Princes made strong progress during the year with its strategy of expansion in continental European and international markets, increasing sales outside of the UK by 25pc to £350m (2012: £280m).

In addition to operating a number of leading food and drinks brands in the UK, Princes is now the leading canned fish brand in The Netherlands and owns the largest tuna brand in Austria, Vier Diamanten.

Ken Critchley, Princes managing-director, said: “Our products are enjoyed by millions of people every day who trust our brands to deliver quality, choice and value.

“We have responded to changing consumer needs with new products and, by expanding our distribution into more countries, we are reaching more shoppers with our growing product portfolio.

“Princes made excellent progress during the last financial year, driven by a commitment to becoming a first choice food and drink group. We have also increased our recruitment of graduates and apprentices as part of our commitment to provide people with long-term career opportunities and excellent training.”

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