Profits return at Greenvale parent firm

More favourable and stable growing conditions help Produce Investments move back into black.

Produce Investments, the parent company of potato supplier Greenvale, has announced a return to profit for the second half of 2013.

It made £5.8m over the period, having previously posted a small loss for the 2012 period following the £12.5m acquisition of Cornish potato and daffodil grower Rowe Farming. Turnover for the period was roughly unchanged at just under £90m.

Chief executive Angus Armstrong explained: "The growing season in 2013 has seen a return to more favourable and stable growing conditions, resulting in a necessary improvement in operating profit."

He added that the integration of Rowe Farming is proceeding ahead of schedule, while talks on a possible takeover of the Jersey Royal Company are ongoing.

Produce Investments is also considering closing one of its three packing sites at Tern Hill in Shropshire, where nearly 200 people are employed. A consultation on the move is expected to run until early May.

"With slight modifications at its two remaining packing sites at Duns in the Scottish Borders and Floods Ferry in Cambridgeshire, an opportunity exists to rationalise the number of sites," Armstrong explained, although he added that supplier growers in the west of England will be unaffected by any change.

Albert Bartlett International safety award

Fellow potato supplier Albert Bartlett has gained the British Safety Council's International Safety Merit Award for its sites at Airdrie in Lanarkshire and Boston in Lincolnshire.

The awards recognise commitment to high standards of health and safety management to prevent workplace injury and ill health.

The success follows a category win for Albert Bartlett at the Vision in Business for the Environment of Scotland (VIBES) Awards, recognising the company's commitment to reducing environmental impact.

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