Egg firm grows profits in spite of rising costs

 
Marion Dakers
BRITAIN’S biggest egg supplier has brushed off soaring chicken feed costs to post a 30 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £14.8m.

Noble Foods, the parent company of Happy Egg and the Gu dessert range, said revenues were flat at £594.6m in the year to the end of September 2012.

The firm said free-range sales stalled in the year while demand for eggs from caged hens rose, in what Noble said was a symptom of customers reining in their shopping lists as food costs continue to rise.

“[It] was a further challenging year with feed and other cost increases further diminishing producer returns together with market turmoil following the implementation of EU legislations on cage birds,” said the firm.

Noble Foods blamed “global supply chain factors and continued financial speculation” for the continued rise in the price of bird feed.

The firm paid out £17.9m in dividends to its investors for the year, its accounts showed.

Noble was the subject of takeover interest earlier in the year but the discussions failed to produce a deal.