Record sales for Princes

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Princes, which has production sites at Wisbech and Long Sutton, has achieved record sales.

The international food and drink group posted sales of £1.74bn in its end of year reports, to 31 March, 2013. The company grew sales by 15% during the year and generated a profit after tax of £40.4m.

Princes is now the country’s largest supplier of canned food and, based on its previous year’s financial performance, ranks as the 10th largest food and drink company in the UK.

The company achieved organic growth across its core markets and successfully integrated acquisitions during the year.

Over the past three years it acquired the local canned food production sites from Premier Foods and formed a new company in Italy that operates one of the most modern and efficient tomato processing, canning and packing sites in Europe.

Significant capital investments by Princes during the year included new warehouse and ingredient processing facilities at its soft drinks site in Bradford and a new production line at its edible oils site in Belvedere, Kent.

The company currently operates 14 production sites and employs over 6,000 people.

Its ongoing programme of brand investment and development included the re-launch of the iconic Crosse & Blackwell brand with a range of canned soup and vegetable products sold in supermarkets and convenience stores across the UK. The soups are the first in the UK to be awarded the prestigious Good Housekeeping Institute accreditation and continue to be supported by a significant marketing investment.

Princes made strong progress during the year with its strategy of expansion in continental European and International markets, increasing sales outside of the UK by 25% to £350m. In addition to operating a number of leading food and drinks brands in the UK, Princes is now the leading canned fish brand in The Netherlands and owns the largest tuna brand in Austria, Vier Diamanten.

Ken Critchley, Princes Managing Director, said: “Our products are enjoyed by millions of people every day who trust our brands to deliver quality, choice and value. We have responded to changing consumer needs with innovative new products for every meal occasion and, by expanding our distribution into more countries, we are reaching more shoppers, more often, with our growing product portfolio.

“Princes made excellent progress during the last financial year, driven by a commitment to becoming a first choice food and drink group. Growth has been achieved through a distinct strategic focus on the strength of customer and supplier partnerships across the group. This, coupled with substantial investment into our brands, sites and people, has resulted in UK and international growth, which is a core part of our strategy.

“We have also increased our recruitment of graduates and apprentices into the company as part of our commitment to provide people with long-term career opportunities and excellent training and development support.”

Over the past three years, Princes has grown its sales by 47% and has employed an additional 1,350 people across its international operations. It has also increased the scale of its food and drink production through acquisition and organic growth.