UK: Robert Wiseman Dairies is taking a chance on Droitwich and the UK supermarkets
Alan Wiseman, chairman of Scotland's Robert Wiseman Dairies , remains quietly confident about the success of the firm's new dairy facility in Worcestershire, England. Milk production to the tune of 80m litres is soon to be transferred from the Manchester plant to the new £35m Droitwich venture, which will open next spring with capacity for 200m litres. Robert Wiseman Dairies is still relying on contracts that have yet to materialise to consolidate its expansion from its original Glasgow base into England, and to make use of the additional Droitwich capacity. Alan Wiseman is defying industry sceptics by insisting that the capacity will be useful for supplying milk to supermarkets, arguing that this sector is growing as the 1.5bn litres of doorstep deliveries continue to decline, and he is confident that new business will be generated. "We have some interesting positions that we think will crystallise in the next six months," he said.In Scotland, meanwhile, intense competition was reflected in the company's interim results, released yesterday (7 November). During H1 of 2000 volume increase was up 10%, generating a turnover of £145.6m and pre-tax profit of £9.5m. The dividend remained unchanged at 1.5p, and earnings per share were posted at 8.03p.Robert Wiseman Dairies controls 80% of the Scottish market, but its operating margins slipped from Do you mean from 7.9% to 7.1%, and prospective investors are likely to be waiting on Droitwich's success in generating business before giving their financial approval. The company is also currently the subject of a Competition Commission report into the Scottish milk industry and shareholders require more than executive confidence that it will be cleared.
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