Turkey giant narrows loss in turnaround bid

Rob Burnett, chief executive of Bernard Matthews.

Rob Burnett, chief executive of Bernard Matthews. - Credit: Archant

Poultry producer Bernard Matthews says an ongoing turnaround bid has succeeded in narrowing the company’s losses – despite posting a £30million drop in sales.

Pre-tax losses at the firm, which has a large factory at Holton, near Halesworth, fell to £5.2m for the year ending June 28, down from £9.9m for the year before – and a steep fall from 2013’s figure of £20.4m.

Chief executive Rob Burnett said the progress was thanks to a strategic plan which had been introduced to revitalise the profitability of the business.

He said: “For the second consecutive year our results have improved as we have continued to turn the business around and move it towards profitability.”

The first part of the EDP Top100 firm’s strategic plan included utilising land through green energy projects such as an anaerobic digester, biomass boilers and wind turbines.

Mr Burnett added: “We have begun to regenerate the core business through greater levels of brand marketing activity and by supplying more retailer-branded products. “And finally we are transforming the business by using our expertise in turkey farming to extend into new poultry markets.”

The accounts said the new management team had driven “significant step changes” in performance, including the planning and cost control throughout the Christmas 2014 campaign.

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It also highlighted continued improvement in agricultural management, leading to better bird health and performance.

The end of last year had also been a success, according to Mr Burnett, who said: “The business has had a successful Christmas period, where we’ve seen an increase in sales in 2015 compared to 2014 across our own label and branded businesses.”

Bernard Matthews received a cash injection of about £20m from turnaround specialists Rutland Partners in 2013.

In its latest accounts posted on Companies House, the firm said additional funding of £10m was secured from investors and lenders in August, which is aimed at helping in the turnaround bid.

The accounts also revealed the average monthly number of employees fell to 2,368 for the year ending June 28, down from 2,625 in 2014.