The expansion of the Albert Bartlett brand and its move into new markets helped boost profits at Scotland’s largest potato packer.
Airdrie-based Bartlett International Holdings reported a 31% increase in pre-tax profits to £11.450 million for the year ending May 31 2014, accounts filed with Companies House show.
This was against a drop in turnover to £174.485m from £175.312m the year before.
The majority of sales were in the UK, although sales outside Europe increased nearly 800% to £3.424m.
Sales to the rest of Europe were £50,944.
According to the accounts, the highest paid director, thought to be Ronnie Bartlett, took home a £977,270 pay cheque, which was down £17,159 on the year before.
In his director’s report Mr Bartlett said the results were satisfactory, with the early part of the year dominated by high prices for raw materials due to the shortage of potatoes in the UK following the poor harvest conditions in 2013.
“Whilst raw material prices have fallen since this high, the UK retail market continues to be extremely competitive, and these pressures are felt throughout the supply chain,” Mr Bartlett said.
The group continued to use celebrity chefs Michel Roux Jr and Andrew Fairlie as the faces of its marketing campaigns, which aim to boost brand awareness and increase potato consumption.
The accounts said the Scotty brand which has a range of produce including carrots, eggs, beef, Ayrshire potatoes and bacon experienced a 40% increase in turnover.
Mr Bartlett said customer awareness and retailer stocking of the Albert Bartlett brand in international markets was growing.
“Albert Bartlett products can now be found in eight retail chains throughout the US; an expansion which has become possible as we add new listings alongside Walmart following the expiry of their initial period of exclusivity,” Mr Bartlett said in his report.
“Whilst the US remains our largest international presence we have increased our exposure in the Middle East with the establishment of a joint venture in Abu Dhabi, and continue the expansion of our business activity in France and mainland Europe.”
The accounts also reveal that dividends paid by the group, which employed an average of 853 staff over the year, decreased to £2.4m from £3.61m previously.
Capital expenditure and financial investment decreased to £7.946m, from £9.496m the year before.
Meanwhile, accounts for subsidiary Albert Bartlett & Sons reveal a 6% increase in pre-tax profits to £10.154m.
This was against an 11% decrease in turnover to £146.193m.