Reduced loss for poultry firm Bernard Matthews

The Bernard Matthews processing plant at Great Witchingham.

The Bernard Matthews processing plant at Great Witchingham. - Credit: PA

Poultry company Bernard Matthews has revealed signs of recovery by posting a significantly reduced annual loss.

The company, which is based at Great Witchingham in Norfolk and also has a major production site at Holton, near Halesworth, said easing cost pressures and a tighter grip on its turkey supply had helped trim the loss to £9.9million, from £20.3m the year before.

Bernard Matthews has made increased efforts to cut costs since 2013 – sparking redundancies in East Anglia and its business in Hungary – as it battles back from a financial slump caused by high feed costs and an over supply of stock in the run up to Christmas 2013.

But the scale of the challenge still facing the firm was laid bare in its results for the year to June 29, 2014, with turnover falling sharply from £346.3m to £306.8m.

Rob Burnett, who was appointed chief executive last June, said: “As expected, our results have improved as we continue to go through a transition period and reflect the benefits of our on-going focus of returning the business to profitability.

“We have now set the strategic aims of the business which include the development and reinvigoration of the branded business, continuing to partner retailers in developing Christmas turkey products and increasing the group’s share of fresh and frozen contracts.

“In addition, a significant element of the strategy is to build on the significant number of completed green energy projects to give us a clear leadership position in this field.”

Most Read

Moves to steer the company towards a firmer financial footing have been accelerated since 2013 when it accepted a £23.5m cash injection from turnaround specialists Rutland Partners in exchange for a stake in the business.

In its latest accounts, the company said it had benefited from the investment, but pointed to “head count reduction, favourable feed costs and rationalisation of factory sites” coupled with the “reduction of the number of birds grown”, as the key factors which boosted performance.

The number of people employed by company has fallen from 2,786 to 2,625 over the same period.

However, the company announced in January that it will take on 90 new staff to meet the demands of its south site factory at its headquarters in Great Witchingham.