Profits rise at Simpsons Malt despite mixed year for Scottish operations

Simpsons Malt has reported mixed results from its Scottish operations as it posted an increase in profits but offered a cautious outlook amid global uncertainty.

The firm said earnings had gathered pace in 2021 as end user markets recovered following the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

The fifth-generation family business, which includes agricultural merchanting division McCreath Simpson & Prentice, recorded a profit before tax of £7.1 million for 2021, up from £4.7m the year before, on turnover of £214.2m, up sharply from £123.5m.

Bosses said the company’s financial year had been headlined by the acquisition of the grain trading business of WN Lindsay at the start of 2021.

Simpsons Malt is a fifth-generation family business.

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The acquisition expanded the merchanting division of the group, which is headquartered in Berwick-upon-Tweed, and its malting barley storage infrastructure, with the company taking on ownership of four grain storage sites across Scotland: Gladsmuir (East Lothian), Keith (Morayshire), Stracathro (Angus) and Sidlaw (Perthshire).

Throughout the rest of the year, WN Lindsay was integrated into the company’s business systems.

During the first quarter of 2021, the malting division saw sales volumes and margins recover to near pre-pandemic levels, and this was sustained throughout the remainder of the year.

However, the merchanting division, together with the trading activities of WN Lindsay, had a “mixed” year.

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Managing director Tim McCreath said: “While demand for malt, cereals and crop inputs remains robust and the prospects of the company appear healthy, we are very mindful of the potential impacts of global events on the business and we continue to exercise caution and prudence in day-to-day and strategic decision making.”

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