Thanet Earth Marketing climbs from loss to profit despite greenhouse site delays

Parent Fresca Group chairman pays tribute to team for 'spectacular' turnaround in fortunes in its second year of trading.

Thanet Earth Marketing's (TEM) second year of trading has seen the group turn around its fortunes from last year's £4.4m loss to an operating profit approaching £1m.

TEM is part of Fresca Group and one of a handful of fresh produce businesses running the large-scale glasshouse production site in Kent.

Group chairman Christopher Mack reported this time last year that the trading year had "been one of the most challenging I recall". But his message in the company's latest annual report was more upbeat.

"I have to offer particular congratulations to the TEM team," he said. "It's still a very young business, but a huge turnaround in for- tune in just one year is remarkable and should be applauded."

Mack credited Fresca board director Ian Craig, who joined TEM last year, for steering the company's economic improvement.

"Under his leadership the business has shown a marked improvement and has posted an operating profit of £0.9m," said Mack.

"This is remarkable, given that once phase one's three greenhouses were built we planned to move swiftly to add the remaining four. But delays mean that 2012 is the earliest opportunity to begin the next phase.

"We rely on volume and economies of scale for our profitability, so to be drawing a profit out of the business is nothing short of spectacular."

Fresca Group has also reported that turnover for the 12 months to 29 April, including its share of joint ventures, rose by 6.9 per cent to £390m.

Group Goal - Convenience market targeted

Fresca Group chair Christopher Mack has revealed that a key target for next year will be the growing prepared and convenience market as the group looks for ways to help its retailers better serve their out-of-home eating customers.

"We have been planning and implementing significant investments in this area, in our facilities and equipment."

Value sales of prepared chilled vegetables have risen by seven per cent to £454.2m over the past year and volumes are up 5.2 per cent, to 137.2 million kilogrammes, according to the latest category data from Kantar Worldpanel.

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