The North-based company behind a popular brand of vegetarian food has announced strong growth and sales performance in its latest report.
Marlow Foods Ltd, of Station Road, Middlesbrough, is the main trading company of Quorn Foods Ltd, the global market leader in meat-alternative foods which is headquartered in Stokesley, North Yorkshire.
In their report to year-end 2012, Marlow’s directors unveiled a pre-tax profit of £18.685m, up more than £16m from 2011, when it was acquired by private equity firm Exponent. They do not intend to pay a dividend for 2012.
In the statement accompanying the report, chief executive Kevin Brennan said the business had performed well in a challenging economic environment and was able to grow in the UK, despite significant competition and distribution changes.
He added: “Good progress continues to be made in international markets, particularly the US and Australia, and the business entered into a sales and distribution agreement with Findus for Sweden and certain other Nordic markets.”
He pointed to strong competition in the UK food industry, both branded products and own label offerings, as posing a principal risk to the future of the company and said that in common with its rivals, Marlow faced significant cost pressures arising from increases in the costs of ingredients - Primarily eggs and glucose - energy and packaging.
Despite this, the company increased trading margins by investing significantly in cost-reduction programmes and supply chain enhancements, which is expects to continue throughout 2013.
Looking to the future, Brennan - a former Kellogg’s marketing director - said: “Investment in consumer marketing continued to increase in 2012 and significant capital expenditure investments continued to be made.
“The business expects to continue to invest significantly in these areas in 2013.”
Quorn Foods, owned by Marlows, employs around 600 people and exports to 12 countries around the world, including Australia and the USA.
Its core ingredient is a plant protein that replicates the texture and taste of meat. This is a naturally occurring fungus, similar to a morel or a truffle.