Produce Investments, the UK-listed potato supplier, today (16 March) booked a mixed set of half-year results, with sales down, one-off charges leading to a first-half loss but operating profit higher.

The company posted a loss of GBP211,000 (US$298,000) for the 26 weeks to 26 December, compared to a profit of GBP1.4m a year earlier.

The result included exceptional items of GBP3.4m due to impairment and redundancy costs from the closure of a packing facility, as well as costs from a recall following a metal contamination incident at processing foods unit Swancote Foods.

Operating profit, which came before those costs, as well as interest, was GBP3.4m, up from GBP2.5m in the first half of 2014/15.

A fall in the cost of sales and an improvement in operating efficiencies boosted operating profit amid lower sales.

Revenues slid 2.8% to GBP78.5m. Produce Investments said Swancote Foods saw volumes and sales fall in the wake of the recall.

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Chief executive Angus Armstrong said Produce Investments had “delivered a very satisfactory improvement in operating profit for the first six months of the year”.

Armstrong added: “The board expects both the market and the retail market to remain challenging. However the market is relatively stable and the recent acquisitions and site rationalisation puts Produce in a more robust position to cope with these pressures.”