The completion in December of a new plant to manufacture pasteurised liquid egg products means Glenrath Farms Ltd now has the most modern production facilities in Europe.
That is the proud claim of the Peeblesshire company’s founder and chairman John Campbell as his firm – Scotland’s largest supplier of eggs for the retail market – revealed increased pre-tax profits of £7.49million in the year to May 31, 2014.
In an upbeat narrative, signed off last week, to the firm’s annual statement of accounts, Mr Campbell says that no fewer than 18 direct members of his family are currently involved in the business, including his co-founder wife Cath, and son Ian who is managing director.
Of the £6million investment in the new processing plant, part of the state-of-the-art Millennium Farm between Eddleston and Leadburn, Mr Campbell states: “The board believes this will prove to be of considerable value to the company in the future.
“It cements our claim of having the most modern production facilities for egg production and now processing, not only in the UK, but also Europe.
“During September, 2014, we received a visit from more than 400 delegates who were attending the International Egg Commission Conference in Edinburgh.
“They consistently remarked on the outstanding robotic grading and packing facilities we have, underlining our claim to be at the forefront of the industry.”
The Lamancha-based firm, founded in the Manor Valley 55 years ago and now employing more than 200 staff, has had to adapt to customer tastes, according to Mr Campbell.
“The reduction in demand for caged eggs means our investment plans are more focused towards free range and barn products and we do not anticipate any further material investment in colony [caged egg] production,” he reveals. “Indeed, we are in the process of converting cage production to barn production and intend to continue this process.”
The firm reported a three per cent fall in turnover to £54.26million over the year as a result of falling feed (wheat) prices, which directly impacts on the selling price.
But profit after tax for the year remained virtually static at £5.78million and the firm’s cash in the bank rose £1million to £17.66million.
Despite this, the Glenrath board is not recommending a dividend.
“As in previous years, it is the board’s policy to reinvest surplus profits back into the business through the acquisition of appropriate assets or investments in existing infrastructure and this will continue to be the case,” explains Mr Campbell.
“Since 2000, we have invested in excess of £66million in land and food production facilities. It is these investments that allow us to continue developing and expanding our production facilities and also to expand into new associated areas.
“For example, we now have planning consent for a wind turbine development to power a farm and are currently assessing the feasibility of a hydro electric development on another. We intend to use these farms to continue expanding our free range production.”
The annual report also reveals that the firm donated £7,500 to the Better Together campaign last year.