Everest chips in with 25% improvement

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The Independent Online
PROFITS at Everest Foods, a producer of frozen chips and baked potatoes, have jumped 25 per cent, writes Robert Cole.

Everest has benefited in recession as shoppers have tended to look for cheaper products. Everest makes many of the supermarkets' own-brand frozen chips that compete with McCain, the market leader.

Pre-tax profits were up to pounds 3.3m from pounds 2.6m and trading profits from the frozen chip business rose from pounds 2.4m to pounds 3m.

Bob Gilbert, chairman, said the company was also reaping the benefit of efficiency derived from the installation of new plant. Everest has spent pounds 6m upgrading equipment.

Two smaller operations, in food distribution and eggs, reduced their profit contribution. Mr Gilbert said the distribution side was hit by the lack of demand from caterers and there was over-supply in the egg market.

Post-tax profits were helped by lower interest charges of pounds 439,000 against pounds 874,000. The company raised pounds 4.5m in January with an open offer for shares.

Extension of the shareholder base also restricted the growth in earnings per share to 12 per cent. Earnings were 20p against 18p.

The dividend is 7p against 6.8p and the shares rose 5p to 220p.