Increased annual profits for Stowmarket-based Muntons despite price volatility

A Muntons lorry at the company's Stowmarket headquarters.

A Muntons lorry at the company's Stowmarket headquarters. - Credit: Archant

Malt and malted ingredients company Muntons has posted increased annual profits despite “significant upheaval” following Britain’s vote for Brexit.

Muntons' joint venture plant in Thailand.

Muntons' joint venture plant in Thailand. - Credit: Archant

In accounts newly filed at Companies House, Stowmarket-based Muntons reported a slight dip in turnover to £89.347m for the 52 weeks to December 31, 2016, compared with £90.136m the previous year.

UK turnover fell from £57.185m to £44.007m but this was largely offset by increases in the rest of the European Union, from £9.764m to £11.666m, and the rest of the world, from £23.177m to £33.674m.

And Muntons, a member of the EADT/EDP Top 100 list of the 100 largest companies in Suffolk and Norfolk, added that the overall fall in turnover reflected price volatility in its markets, with the volume of products despatched rising by 6.3% during the year, from 198,261tonnes to 210,737tonnes.

EBITDA (earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortisation) grew from £11.5m in 2015 to £11.9m. “This was achieved despite the significant upheaval brought about by Brexit and some changes in customer mix,” said the company in the report accompanying its accounts.

The new grain handling and storage facility at Muntons in Stowmarket which opened last October.

The new grain handling and storage facility at Muntons in Stowmarket which opened last October. - Credit: Gregg Brown

Operating profit increased from £8.999m to £9.011m, despite increased research and development expenditure and a reduced gain on currency transactions compared with the previous year, and the bottom-line pre-tax profit was 4.6% higher, at £8.270m against £7.908m.

The company also reduced its level of debt during the year, from £25.4m to £23.7m, although its pensions liability increased, from £9.0m to £10.1m.

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Muntons’ Stowmarket operation produces more than 80,000 tonnes of malt and 40,000 tonnes of malt-based extracts a year. The site also includes a 10,000 tonne malt flour milling and malted cereal flaking facility.

Last October, the company celebrated the completion of a £2.6m investment in improved grain intake and handling facilities, including a new energy-efficient grain dryer capable of drying up to 50 tonnes of barley an hour – significantly increasing the speed of intake as well as saving energy.

Muntons also has a second UK malting plant, at Bridlington in Yorkshire, with a capacity of 100,000 tonnes a year, and a joint venture in Thailand making malted drink powder for the south-east Asia market.