On the back of a 3 per cent increase in sales for the year to £31.6m, operating profit for the savoury flavours company dipped a wisp from £2.199m (€3.1m) in 2002 to £2.1m (€3m) in 2003, ended 30 September.
'Orange oil based products continued as the most signficant component of sales, representing about 20 per cent of group sales,' said Edward Dawnay, chairman of Treatt.
According to Dawnay, the results reflect continued capital investments by the company for 'change and modernisation in an increasingly challenging marketplace.' These investments include new production facilities for Treatt USA in Florida - its new US HQ - as well as IT co-ordination systems across the UK and US. 'Treatt will become fully integrated, including sales order processing, purchasing, manufacturing, quality control, shipping and finance. This will result in efficiency savings over time,' commented the chairman.
Trading of orange oil helped boost the groups gross profit in 2002, but in 2003 the picture differed. 'The last twelve months have not produced any stock profits as orange oil prices have stabilised,' added Dawnay. Repeating a picture evident elsewhere in today's ingredients industry, Treatt warned that the orange oil market could hit results in the following year although would likely buck up in the second half of the year. 'It remains the area of greatest uncertainty for the coming year as it continues to trade at a higher price than normal. The group's stock holdings of orange oil will be managed pro-actively in order to minimise the potential impact of falling prices,' said the company.
The company posted a total dividend for the year of 8.4 pence per share, unchanged from the year before.