Egg producer and packer LJ Fairburn has reported lower profits in the year ending 30 September 2021, due to a ‘difficult trading environment’ over the past year.
Sales during the year were up 11.7% over the year to £102.4 million, due to new retail contracts beginning. However, the company reported profits after tax of £532,865, down from £1.46 million the year before.
The company’s directors said profitability had declined due to difficulties including the easing of lockdown in April 2021, which had lead to a significant decrease in demand, which in turn caused surplus egg to flood the market.
The firm also invested heavily during the year in automation and expanding capacity at its packing centre in Lincolnshire. As a result net debt during the year increased from £17.7 million to £19.8 million.
In December 2021, the business suffered an outbreak of avian influenza. This caused ‘significant disruption’ to the business, the directors’ report states, and has resulted in the current financial year being one of recovery. However, it says Fairburn’s retail customers and producers have been ‘very supportive’.