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Profits nosedive at drinks maker Halewood International

Knowsley firm which makes Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer saw sales rise but profits drop to £6.7m

Andy Smallman, managing director of Halewood International, with some of the company's products

Lambrini producer Halewood International is to switch its focus to overseas markets after annual profits more than halved.

The Knowsley firm, which also makes Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer and distributes Tsingtao Chinese Beer and Lamb’s Navy Rum, saw pre-tax profits for the year to June, 2013, fall to £6.7m from £15.1m in 2012.

Sales were up slightly for the 12- month period – rising 1.3% to £275.8m.

The drop in profits at Halewood has been caused by declining sales in the UK and overseas as well as a significant increase in costs associated with packaging waste,

Chairman Judith Halewood, widow of founder John, who died in 2011, described the results as satisfactory given the challenging economic conditions.

Managing director, Andy Smallman, added: “Having had a strong year in 2012, we always knew 2013 was going to be tough.

“However, we have a clear strategic focus to reduce our exposure to a UK market where long-term sales are declining and have restructured our business to ensure we are configured for international growth underpinned by new product development.

“The macro-economic environment remains extremely challenging with increases in raw materials and energy costs showing no sign of slowing down.

 “At the same time, consumer confidence, while improving, remains fragile.

“This year has very much been one of re-grouping and restructuring to allow us to start driving growth in the years ahead.

“We recognise that meeting our ambitions for the business will be challenging. I am confident we have a robust plan, a strong team and a tremendous product portfolio and these clearly provide a solid foundation on which we can grow the business.”

The company restructured in early 2013 as part of a five-year plan which aims to deliver around one third of profits from exports and a similar figure from new product development.

It currently employs around 1,000 people with about half of those based at its Huyton headquarters.

John Halewood founded the company in his garage in 1978 and grew it into the UK’s largest independent drinks producer.

Source: www.liverpoolecho.co.uk - 9 January 2014