Clarke overcomes equipment delays

CLARKE Foods, the ice cream maker transformed by its pounds 13.3m acquisition of Lyons Maid in March, said it was confident it had resolved the commissioning problems with new equipment that held up restructuring in the wake of the deal.

Its plant in Stourbridge, West Midlands, is churning out more than one million litres a week, while a lolly plant capable of producing 50 million Zooms, Mivis and other icicles a year has been installed at Telford, Shropshire, and will shortly be in operation. The group has invested pounds 14m on new equipment at the two plants, pounds 5m on researching new ice cream formulations and pounds 2m on computer equipment.

The group admitted that the problems had a 'ripple effect' on its performance but said 'the corner had now been turned' and it had built up enough stocks to meet demand for the rest of the season.

The group made pre-tax profits of pounds 168,000 in the six months to 2 May, down from pounds 364,000 last time. It said that comparisons were difficult because of the transformation of the group, but refused to break down the figures.

The results included two months of Lyons Maid and a contribution from the ice cream businesses acquired from Hillsdown a month before the end of the previous period. The earlier figures were also boosted by pounds 305,000 interest from surplus cash. This has now been spent, giving interest charges of pounds 108,000.

The acquisition has boosted Clarke's branded sales to 52 per cent by volume and 72 per cent by value compared to 30 per cent at the Hillsdown businesses. Average selling prices in the branded sector in the past 10 weeks have risen by 65 per cent, partly through a change in mix and a move to more up-market products. It has been heavily promoting its up-market brands, sold under the Clarke's label.

Earnings per share were 0.05p, down from 1.65p, but the dividend was maintained at 0.75p. The shares closed up 5p at 107p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
books...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Sport
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Sport
Romelu Lukaku scored twice to add to the hat-trick he registered in the first leg in Switzerland
football
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
tv
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Anna Woodward: German Speaking Accountant

£45,000: Anna Woodward: My client is aleading global manufacturer and service ...

Danielle Degan: Accounts Payable Executive

£13 - £15 Hourly Rate: Danielle Degan: Are you looking for a Purchase Ledger r...

Jemma Gent: International Management Accountant

£150 - £200 Day Rate: Jemma Gent: Are you as an experienced accountant with ex...

George Parlour: Assistant Accountant

£13 - £15 Hourly Rate: George Parlour: Do you want to give something back? Th...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower