Dairy Crest adjusted pre-tax profits up

Dairy Crest Group's adjusted pre-tax profits rose by 5% to £60.6m in the year to the end of March.

Revenues were 1% lower at £416.6m and profit before tax fell by 11% to £40.3m.

The group declared a final dividend of 16.3p per share - up from 16.0p last time.

Chief executive Mark Allen said: "In the first full year since the transformational sale of our Dairies business, we have delivered a robust performance in a tough market.

"Our industry leading margins are the result of our focus on driving long-term value through brand building, innovation, investment in a world class supply chain and strong cost control.

"Our key brands are performing well. Cathedral City remains the nation's favourite cheese and following its brand refresh at the start of the year, the good progress and momentum we have seen in the last six months has continued in the new financial year.

"Our overall spreads market share has increased, and Frylight had another outstanding year with sales growing 19%.

"This is well ahead of the market. The ongoing investment that we are putting behind our brands gives me confidence that we can grow market share.

"We have continued to make good progress in our demineralised whey operations at Davidstow. We are now hitting our targeted level of infant formula grade.

"Developing our sales of demineralised whey and GOS into the high-margin global infant formula market will be a key priority this year.

"At the same time we will continue our research into other potential animal and human applications for GOS.

"Looking forward, I am excited about the future for Dairy Crest.

"The business is well positioned to deliver profitable, sustainable growth and stronger cash generation.

"This underpins our commitment to growing our dividends and reducing debt."