Avara Foods has published its results to May 2019, with turnover of £1.1bn and profit for the year of £13.7m. This reflects a period of significant change internally, and associated one-off costs, during a year when the new business, a joint venture between Cargill and Faccenda, was focused on integrating effectively and setting a clear direction. However, performance in the second half of the period, which has continued into this financial year, demonstrates the effective progress made, despite the challenging economic climate.
Reviewing the first year results CEO Andy Dawkins commented, “Our first full year as Avara Foods was always going to be a period of significant change and upheaval, and the wider economic environment was a test of our resilience. Despite this, even in a tough trading period, there are strong indicators that we are on the right path. The investment in our business, the support from our customers and the improving performance trend towards the end of the period are all reasons for us to be optimistic about our future.
“Demand for poultry remained firm, with chicken retaining its position as the UK’s favourite meat supported by significant price activity in the UK market. Increased volumes amplified challenges to recruit, train and retain the people and skills required to support step changes in demand, an employment position exacerbated by the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit. However, this was effectively countered by Avara’s growth with our partner customers stimulating new, long term investment (£15m) in facilities and automation which improved productivity, increased capacity and supported range and volume increases across a wider range of added value categories.
“Avara’s strategic direction remains unchanged, with a relentless focus on identifying and delivering projects that support its customer partners by delivering improved productivity and product innovation through a significant capital investment plan in its UK manufacturing and agriculture supply chain.
“We are clear that our continued success is focused on providing our customers with the fresh, high quality food at the affordable price that that the UK consumer rightly expects,” commented Dawkins. “That is why our strategy is focused on operating more efficiently through investment in technology, people and skills to deliver continued growth for Avara in the UK market.
“Clearly, to support this investment strategy we need clarity in the Brexit process and now is the time to establish the priorities of a post-Brexit food landscape. This should include the protection of existing standards, equitable trade arrangements, an immigration system that meets the needs of UK industry and a practicable transition period.”