July 4, 2008

Customers Will Pay for Price Pressures on Milk Firm

SOARING fuel and packaging prices are heaping pressure on supermarket milk supplier Robert Wiseman Dairies, the company said today.

The company has been forced to offset the rising bill for diesel, gas, electricity and milk cartons by hiking customer prices.

"It is clear there will be a need for the company to seek an increase in our selling prices from customers to recover the cost increases we are incurring," the firm said.

Chairman Alan Wiseman added: "I can say that the last few months have been amongst the most difficult we have ever faced as a business."

Despite the cost problems, the Glasgow-based firm reported first quarter sales volumes 2 per cent ahead of the same period last year, and expects to deliver results for the year in line with expectations.

The company, which supplies Tesco and Sainsbury's, has also welcomed the recovery of bulk cream revenues that had been a "major cause for concern" earlier in the year.

"We are confident that with a robust balance sheet, the most modern and efficient network of dairies and distribution centres in the UK, and the support of our customers, we can rebuild margins back to acceptable levels," Mr Wiseman added.

The firm said its new South West dairy in Bridgwater, Somerset is now fully operational. The firm operates other dairies in Aberdeen, East Kilbride, Glasgow, Manchester and Droitwich Spa, and has around 4,500 staff.

The company announced operating profits of Pounds 38.4 million in the year to March 31, an increase of 10.1 per cent on a year earlier.

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