One of Scotland’s most well-known potato companies, Albert Bartlett, enjoyed a boost in sales and profits last year despite “significant cost pressures”.
The latest accounts for Albert Bartlett Holdings Limited, which runs the popular Albert Bartlett potato brand and the Scotty Brand range of fresh produce, show a 6% increase in turnover to £212.7 million for the year to May 31, 2021.
Pre-tax profits were also up 9.6% to £10.3m, from £9.4m the year before.
Sales within the UK were up 9% to £209.2m, however sales to Europe decreased by 28% to £1.4m and sales to the rest of the world were down 70% to £2.08m.
In his report accompanying the accounts, the company’s sole director Ronnie Bartlett said the trading performance during the year had been satisfactory and the growth in turnover reflected continued development across all parts of the business.
“Alongside growth in our established fresh and frozen businesses we saw good growth in our chilled potato business which was first launched in September 2018,” added Mr Bartlett.
However, he said the impact of Brexit and increasing cost inflation had been heavily felt by the company and the wider food industry in 2021.
“Reduced labour availability, both operationally and within supply chain, rising commodity and raw material prices and increasing utility costs have brought significant cost pressures,” added Mr Bartlett.
“Covid-19 has presented challenges, and we will continue to keep all divisions of our business under review as this risk remains a factor.”
Mr Bartlett said the company continued to invest in its chilled operations during the year, adding to both its capacity and capability to meet growing sales volumes, and the company also started work to increase the capacity and range of products on offer within its frozen division.
He said challenging trading conditions had resulted in volumes being pulled back in the international business, which will be reviewed in the year ahead, and the Scotty Brand division – which includes soft fruit, salmon and bacon – continued to innovate with partners to bring new products to the market.
Looking ahead, Mr Bartlett said: “The business continues to invest for the future and will complete the frozen facility expansion in 2022, enhancing its offering to customers and increase sale volumes.
“Further to this, the business continues to identify and explore opportunities to further develop our offering in both fresh and frozen markets.”
The accounts also reveal the company employed an average of 1,100 staff – up from 1,085 previously – and Mr Bartlett was paid a salary of £950,004 and a dividend of £1.5m.