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Porridge-maker Hamlyns of Scotland enjoys profits boost

Hamlyns produces oatmeal and a range of other oat-based products.
Hamlyns produces oatmeal and a range of other oat-based products.

North-east porridge-maker Hamlyns of Scotland enjoyed a 35% increase in profits last year.

The latest accounts for the Banff-based firm show profits of £89,694 for the year to July 31, 2021 – this is up from £66,199 the year before.

The accounts, filed with Companies House, also show a slight reduction in turnover to £21.274 million, from £21.865m previously.

Hamlyns, which is owned by Crewe-based Morning Foods, makes oatmeal and a range of other oat-based products at its mill at Boyndie. It buys oats from farmers across Scotland.

In a report accompanying the accounts, Hamlyns director James John Lea said the company’s directors were satisfied with its performance during the year.

“As in previous years the current period was impacted by the devaluation of the pound against a basket of foreign currencies,” added Mr Lea.

“The wet autumn of 2019 and dry conditions during 2020 resulted in a large but poor-yielding harvest.”

Hamlyns buys oats from farmers across Scotland.

He said the volatility of the price of grain, and in particular oats, remained an ongoing and critical issue for the company however its oat growing contract programme – the Morning Foods Oat Partnership – helped manage this.

“The range and scope of the partnership has been extended for this year and next,” added Mr Lea.

“The company uses the partnership to ensure world-class traceability and facilitate alignment with farming practices that are important to certain customer groups.

“In turn, UK farmers in the oat growing partnership have a secured market for their oats and benefit from proactive relationships with end customers.”

Mr Lea said the Covid-19 pandemic created significant operational challenges for the company, which employed an average of 52 members of staff in the year, however these were overcome quickly.

Brexit has also created “increased attrition” at borders and it coincided with a significant expansion of oat milling facilities elsewhere in the world.

“As the UK is a net exporter of oat products, this combination has resulted in a slight decline in overall UK oat milling,” added Mr Lea.

He said the Ukraine war had impacted commodity prices, including those for grain, and the long-term outlook remained uncertain however the company’s directors are confident the oat growing programme is sufficient to respond to this.

Meanwhile, accounts for Hamlyns’s parent company Morning Foods Limited show a decrease in turnover and pre-tax profits.

The accounts show sales of £165m for the year to July 31, 2021 – down from £168.1m the year before. Pre-tax profits were also down 10% to £7m.

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