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Thursday, 24 July 2014

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Carr's Milling profits rise by 30 per cent

Carr's Milling Industries, the Carlisle-based agriculture, food and engineering group, today reported a 30 per cent rise in profits.

Chris Holmes photo
Chris Holmes

The company made £13.06 million before tax in the year to September 1, up from £10.01m the year before.

Sales increased from £373.32m to £404.06m.

In a statement to shareholders, chairman Lord Inglewood said: “The challenge for Carr’s, after the strong period of financial performance experienced, is how to build on it and grow further.

“We view 2013 with optimism, boosted by the likely benefits of the considerable investments we have made and are making across all three divisions.”

The increase in profits was slightly ahead of analysts’ expectations, sending the share price up 37.34p at 936.34p in early trading today.

Agriculture and engineering performed strongly but the food division, which includes Silloth flour mill, struggled because of “long-term over-capacity in the flour industry”, Carr’s says.

The engineering division, led by Bendalls of Carlisle, was boosted by strong demand from the nuclear industry in China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, the UK and USA.

Agriculture also experienced strong demand for feed products in North America, Europe and New Zealand, as well as the UK.

Carr’s says its overseas businesses doubled their contribution to profits, accounting for almost half the total.

The year saw Carr’s invest £2m in acquisitions, notably Clive Walton Engineering at Cumrew near Brampton, the agricultural chemists Laycocks and the animal-feed business Afgritech.

It is also investing £7m in Germany and the US, and in a new flour mill at Kirkcaldy in Scotland, which is scheduled to open next autumn.

The board is proposing an 11.5 per cent increase in the final dividend to 14.5p which, added to the two interim dividends, takes the total for the year to 29.0p, up from 26.0p the previous year.

Chief executive Chris Holmes, who has been at the helm since 1994, is due to step down next year, when he will replace Lord Inglewood as chairman.

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