Robert Wiseman Dairies today (27 March) said trading is in line with expectations as it hikes prices to compensate for "exceptional" increases in production costs.

In a meeting with analysts ahead of the company's year-end on 29 March, finance director Billy Keane said that sales volume and turnover for the fiscal year had met the group's forecast.

Keane highlighted strong sales growth of 'the One', which rose 34%. "We have clearly benefited from being the first major dairy company to launch a 1% fat milk," he said.

Sales of shelf-stable milk also increased strongly, with sales of Tesco Pure and Wiseman's own brand Puriti up 25% year-on-year.

However, Keane acknowledged that costs had dramatically risen over the past six months. This has led the UK milk supplier to increase selling prices.

"In our trading statement on 30 January 2008, we advised that a selling price increase would be necessary if these costs persisted. We have begun implementing higher selling prices to cover these cost increases, which will also allow an increase in the price paid to our milk suppliers," Keane said.

Meanwhile, as Robert Wiseman increases production at its new South West dairy at Bridgewater, the group plans to close its Pensilva dairy in Cornwall.

"We recently notified staff at our small Pensilva dairy in Cornwall that we wished to commence a formal 30-day consultation exercise regarding the possibility of production ceasing at this plant in May," Keane said.

Robert Wiseman operates other dairies in Aberdeen, East Kilbride, Glasgow, Manchester, Droitwich Spa and Okehampton in Devon.