Produce World reports 'dramatic' turnaround after major losses

Vegetable supply business reassures staff, customers and suppliers that it is now back in profit.

The directors of Produce World have sought to reassure its 1,200 staff, as well as suppliers and customers, that they have turned the vegetable supply business around in the wake of "historic" losses of £11.6m in the year to June 2011.

Chief executive William Burgess said: "We have explained to them how these exceptional losses have occurred, about the dramatic turnaround we have achieved over the past 12 months and that the business is now making a profit."

Around £8m of the loss was incurred by Produce World Marshalls (PWM), the former Marshalls Holdings, a brassica specialist that Produce World took over back in 2007.

An investigation by PricewaterhouseCoopers confirmed that there had been errors in the internal accounting procedures going back a number of years.

But Burgess insisted: "Produce World Marshalls has been one of the driving forces behind this much improved financial performance for the group during 2011-12."

He said the group's bank, Barclays, "continues to be supportive of the business" and added: "While our restructuring of the group to meet the needs of the marketplace continues, there will be no redundancies in the UK directly attributable to these losses."

The group appointed an interim finance director for PWM in September 2011 and a new group finance director, Philip Jones, in October.

Corporate responsibility - Online report

Produce World has made its corporate social responsibility performance available online via sustainability specialists Credit360.

The application tracks each business division's performance in carbon, energy and water use, accident frequency rate, packaging per tonne of produce, waste and workplace absences

It can be viewed online at produceworld.credit360.com.


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