A Fife paper bag manufacturer has dealt with soaring raw material costs and challenging trading conditions to see turnover jump by more than 16%.
Family owned Smith Anderson, based in Kirkcaldy’s Rosslyn Commerce Park, supplies paper bags to a number of major food groups, including McDonald’s, Greggs, Burger King and Five Guys.
The firm, which now manufactures over 60 million paper bags per week, also supplies products to the healthcare sector including several of the UK’s largest pharmacy groups and the NHS.
Turnover rose to £31.3m for the year ending September 30, 2019, an increase of 16.6%.
Sales overseas grew in line with a 5-year strategic plan at a faster rate of 17.9% as markets, particularly in Central Eastern Europe continued to develop, supported by a recent joint venture in Poland.
Chief executive, Michael Longstaffe said a combination of the firm’s investment in new machinery and product innovation had helped bolster the company’s position.
He said: “Over the last three years, we have invested over £4m in nine new machines, all of which are fully operational at the Kirkcaldy facility and have increased our capacity significantly.
“We have also introduced numerous innovative products, incorporating improved functionality and unique raw materials to the market.”
The company has around 20% of its 240-strong workforce still on furlough, but aims to have all staff back by the end of June, with operations at previous levels within a few months.
Mr Longstaffe said: “There is a growing public awareness of the importance of sustainability and our products are all recyclable and compostable – this is a good time to be making paper bags and we are gathering momentum with a very confident approach.
“We have a fantastic team at Smith Anderson, many of whom have worked tirelessly through ‘lockdown’ to support key NHS customers.
“The food service sector is strong and as firms such as McDonald’s start to re-open their drive through channels this week, that is only likely to improve.
“The pharmacy sector is particularly strong for us just now and continues to develop profitably.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has interrupted imports of cheap, poor quality products and customers are seeing and appreciating a quality of service and product which can reflect better value for money.”
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