UK: Maltsters feel competitive pressure in the market

British maltsters Bairds Malt and Simpson Malt both reported declining turnover in 2016 with a drop of 7.6% to £189.7 million ($253.9m) or 10.5% to £143.8million($192.4m)respectively, while Anglia Maltings, which owns the Crisp Malting Group and food ingredients businesses Edme and Micronized Food Products, posted a 37.9% boost in turnover to £155.6 million ($208.2m) last year. This was mainly due to last year’s purchase of malting company Tivoli Malz/GlobalMalt in Hamburg, Germany, and Global Malt Polska in Bydgoszcz, Poland, for a combined price of £36.3million ($48.6m).

Pre-tax profits of Anglia Maltings grew disproportionately by only 1.8% to £13.3million($17.7), while Simpsons recorded a drop in pre-tax profits  by 6.9% to £9.3million ($12.4). Bairds reduced pre-tax profits by nearly one third (31.2%) to £3.6 ($4.8m).

Bairds Malt, whose fiscal year already ended September 30, 2016, blamed “competitive pressures in the malting division on processing fees” for the drop in turnover and profits. According to the company, a reduction in beer consumption across the UK and Europe and a reduction in export volumes contrasted a “solid performance” in its merchanting division in Scotland and England.

Crisp said ”that the demand pressure on margins will continue in 2017 and 2018. This is mainly due to planned reductions in off-takes by Scotch Whisky distillers.”

Simpson’s managing director Tim McCreath said “the group’s malting business performed as expected with malt volumes falling short of last year’s record performance. This was due to a marginal decline in distilling malt volumes not being fully offset by growing brewing volumes.”

“Malt sales values declined during the year due to further decreases in malting barley prices. These factors combined to reduce both turnover and profit before tax,” McCreath added.

And he went on: “The prospects for our malting business remain extremely positive. Distilling markets are relatively flat in response to recent weakness in whisky sales. However, whisky sales in 2016 have shown positive signs and whilst spirit production is expected to lag this sales growth, the long-term opportunities for this sector remain positive.”

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