North East soft drink company Fentimans has seen profits and revenue rise despite a catalog of challenges.
The Hexham business was revived over 20 years ago by founder Eldon Robson with a traditional ginger beer recipe owned by his family. Today, it manufactures and sells over 40 soft drinks, mixers, syrups, craft beers and premixed alcoholic beverages to the hospitality industry and high street retailers.
The company released accounts for 2021 showing gross sales of £44m, a 20% increase on the previous year, while operating profit rose sixfold to £260,535. pounds to £1.61 million. Pre-tax profit was £1.597m, down from £212,272.
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Group Chief Financial Officer Daniel Tobin said: “The result was achieved against the backdrop of continued global uncertainty throughout 2021: Covid-imposed restrictions in the UK, US and other key international markets for long periods of the year, significant supply chain disruption and the implications of Brexit on the group’s export business, particularly in Q1 2021.
“The group has demonstrated its resilience by negotiating strongly through these unprecedented challenges and the Board of Directors wishes to take this opportunity to thank all our stakeholders and in particular our employees for their efforts throughout this difficult period.”
In January last year, the company said it was looking to increase sales in the United States after moving away from a distributor model and creating a new wholly-owned sales subsidiary.
The latest accounts show the group’s US business grew by 38% in its second year of business, grossing sales of £4.4m, and continued to gain momentum while throughout 2021 despite Covid restrictions and are starting to establish themselves well in some of the country’s wells. – known resellers. Despite the increase in sales, the US business recorded a small loss for 2021, reflecting a second year of operational investment and the impact of increased shipping costs on the market.
During the year, Fentimans said it continued to invest in new product development while increasing brand awareness among consumers.
Mr Tobin said: “Throughout 2021, the group has been focused on concluding the development of its latest innovation, Good & Fruity, a functionally beneficial still drink with no compromise on Fentimans flavor. Good & Fruity launched in 2022 with three flavors initially and the board is excited about the prospect of a new innovation in the soft drink market that offers its consumers both high quality flavor and digestive health benefits.
Looking ahead, Mr Tobin said Fentimans was well placed to weather the weather disruptions.
He added: “From a business perspective, the recent outbreak of conflict in Ukraine is expected to add further disruption to the global supply chain and inevitably lead to increased cost pressures. In addition, the group’s revenues in the impacted geographical areas will inevitably be significantly affected.
“This critical issue is, of course, in addition to the continued negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic and continued supply chain turmoil. The Board, however, is pleased to report that the Group has resolutely absorbed and met the challenges of the past two years while continuing to trade well and maintain strong operating cash flow.
“Therefore, the Board is optimistic that the Group will continue to protect its position against these persistent challenges, a number of which are embedded in the 2022 plan, and will indeed continue to deliver year-on-year growth. year.”
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