Dairy Crest reports £10m loss as milk unit hits results

John Lydon
Image caption Dairy Crest uses former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon to advertise Country Life butter

Dairy Crest has posted a multi-million pound loss due to the poor performance of its milk division and higher costs.

The maker of Clover spread and Cathedral City cheese made a net loss of £10.1m in the year to 31 March, against a profit of £77.8m a year ago. Revenue was up slightly at £1.63bn.

The firm said increased competition had hit its milk business, while costs went up by £80m.

It said it was thinking about closing two dairies as a result.

It added it was also consulting on making further depot closures and cutting a number of head office jobs.

Taking out exceptional charges - which included a large writedown in the value of the dairy business - profits were almost unchanged at £87.4m.

Away from the milk business, the company said it had performed well, with sales of Clover rising 17%. Sales of Country Life butter, however, fell as higher prices reflected rising input costs.

"Dairy Crest's results for the year demonstrate the continued benefit of being a broadly based business," said the group's chief executive Mark Allen.

"Double digit growth in our branded spreads and cheese businesses has offset unsatisfactory results in Dairies."

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