Record sales for Princes

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Prominent local employer Princes has recorded record sales in its latest accounts.

The leading food and drink group, that employs over 1,000 people at its food production sites in Wisbech and Long Sutton, achieved record sales of £1.51 billion in the year to 31 March 2012, according to latest accounts filed with Companies House.

The company, which manufactures a number of canned food brands including Crosse & Blackwell, Farrow’s, Smedley’s and Branston at the two East Anglian sites, grew sales by 28 per cent during the year from 2011’s figures of £1.18 billion, and generated a profit after tax of £31.1 million, representing a 13 per cent increase on the previous year’s profits of £27.6 million.

The £181 million acquisition of the East Anglian canning operations of Premier Foods in July 2011 contributed to Princes’ sales during the second half of the year and brought a number of brands into the company’s portfolio.

It also gave Princes long-term agreements to manufacture certain products for the Branston and Batchelors brands under licence.

Princes is now the UK’s largest manufacturer and supplier of canned food and has invested over £4 million in relaunching the iconic Crosse & Blackwell brand.

Princes also made significant progress during the year with its strategy of expansion in continental European and International markets, increasing sales outside of the UK by 26 per cent to £388 million.

Ken Critchley, Princes managing director, said: “Princes made excellent progress during the last financial year by delivering a strategic plan which is focused on achieving UK and international growth by investing in our brands, our production and supply capabilities, forming new strategic partnerships and opening new customer markets.

“We have successfully integrated our newly-acquired operations and brands into the group and are benefiting from the early investment we have made into new product and brand development.

“The group has also invested in the infrastructure and people to build on our international growth, which is a core part of our strategy.”