Major investment, not least in its Ribena and Lucozade plant in the Forest of Dean, means that despite a ‘tough’ year Suntory Beverage & Food GB&I remains confident of future growth.
Its annual report reveals turnover last year fell from £425 million to £385 million, with gross profits down from £224million to £200 million, thanks to the world-wide coronavirus pandemic.
However, it managed to increase operating profits from £73 to £77 million and declared a £10 million investment in new blackcurrent varieties had delivered a 10,000-tonne harvest to ensure production of its iconic Ribena drink.
‘These results have been accomplished against tough economic circumstances with pressure applied by customers and suppliers alike,’ said director Conor Brew.
‘The directors believe the foundations the company has built, coupled with significant planned investments and commitment to its brands, products, customer and supplier relationships, and its employees, put it in a good position for future growth.’
In June 2021, the firm revealed plans to invest a further £6 million in changes to make the packaging produced by its Coleford plant more environmentally friendly.
It was news that followed a £13 million investment by the Japanese-owned business in an energy and water-efficient bottling production line at the Gloucestershire factory, which employs 300-plus staff.
Suntory now produces 90 per cent of Britain’s blackcurrent crop, and has successfully bred new varieties of the fruit resilient to both the changing patterns of the British weather.
By Andrew Merrell