Robinson produces revival at Vestey
Union International, the main holding company for the Vestey family's businesses, made a pre-tax profit of pounds 32.5m last year, compared with a loss of pounds 102m in 1991. The profit of pounds 30.8m before exceptional items was the highest for five years, and operating profits soared to pounds 44.9m from just pounds 3.1m.
The group has also reduced its debts from pounds 328m to pounds 202m, and the total is due to fall further when it completes a dollars 45.5m deal to sell its Brazilian farming business to the Vestey family trusts.
Mr Robinson was brought in after Tim Vestey, Union's chairman and a great-grandson of one of the empire's founders, had to ask the group's bankers for a standstill on debt repayments.
Yesterday Mr Robinson said that the first part of the recovery strategy drawn up last year had almost been completed. More than pounds 100m of non-core assets have been sold, including large tracts of farm land in Australia and South America. The UK business - including Dewhirst, the butcher shop chain - has been turned around, and the group is close to selling at least two of its five office buildings.
Mr Robinson and his team are now working on a long-term strategy based on food distribution in four main areas - the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the Far East.
In New Zealand, Union is inviting outside investors to take a 50 per cent stake in the business. It has had three approaches but may float the company if none of them is attractive.
At home, Dewhirst is now profitable after having lost over pounds 18m in 1991, and the abattoir business, British Meat, is benefiting from tougher Europen Community regulations, which have forced some smaller abattoirs out of business.
- 1 Dentist who illegally killed Cecil the lion blames local guides for the scandal
- 2 Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
- 3 Norwich paedophile ring: Woman at centre of gang who made children 'sexual play things' guilty of 23 offences
- 4 Black and ethnic minority people twice as likely to be hit by Tory cuts than white people, report finds
- 5 Walter Palmer: American dentist revealed as the killer of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe
Dentist who illegally killed Cecil the lion blames local guides for the scandal
Kate Winslet thanked 'particularly horrible' girl who bullied her at school after Titanic success
Norwich paedophile ring: Woman at centre of gang who made children 'sexual play things' guilty of 23 offences
Black and ethnic minority people twice as likely to be hit by Tory cuts than white people, report finds
Walter Palmer: American dentist revealed as the killer of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn says 'we can learn a great deal from Karl Marx'
The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for
I am the Jeremy Corbyn supporter that many will tell you doesn't exist
Public anger after French sunbather beaten up by gang for wearing a bikini in Reims park
Labour leadership: New poll shows party is now even 'less electable' than under Ed Miliband
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn – or a return to a Labour government
iJobs Money & Business
£22500 - £24500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Inbound and outbound calls with...
£18000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Insurance Bro...
£40 - 45k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Research Associate / Research Anal...
£20000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Summary: The Green Recruitm...