Business

Sales and profits fizz for Shloer and WKD owners SHS Group

Shloer-maker SHS Group saw its turnover pass the £500m mark in 2017
Gary McDonald Business Editor

THE north's largest family-owned food and household goods business SHS Group, whose diverse range of products ranges from fire-lighters to alcopops, has revealed that sales have gone through the half billion pound mark for the first time.

It has reported a turnover of £545.7 million (up from £467.7m in 2016), and its bottom line profit fizzed from £16.8 million to £18.8 million.

SHS Group, whose key consumer brands include soft drink Shloer, Merrydown cider and Sunny Jim firelighters, is owned by the Salters and Sloan families, whose combined personal wealth rose from £133.5m to £151.2m over the period.

The Belfast-based company said its excellent top line growth "was driven by innovation, new business, brand investment and acquisitions".

It added that its profits were boosted by "prudent management of operating costs and foreign exchange exposure".

In its current trading year SHS group, whose other premium branded products include Bottlegreen, WKD, Farmlea and Maguire & Paterson matches, completed the purchases of Standard Brands UK Limited and 3V Group for undisclosed sums.

Standard Brands is the owner of firelighter brands Zip and Sunny Jim, while 3V Group is responsible for nut butter brand Meridian and soft drink producer Rocks, a leading brand of organic squash.

The year before it snapped up no&more, a company selling flavoured spring water. It rebranded from Nuva in September 2017 and was founded by a former marketing director of Evian.

In addition to its extensive portfolio, the SHS Group is a market leader in the supply of own label herbs and spices in the UK and distributes more than 100 blue chip fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) brands in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Figures filed at Companies House for the 2017 calendar year show that the gross margin at SHS, a key performance indicators for the group, was 15.7 per cent during the period compared to 17.5 per cent a year earlier.

The company employed 878 staff over the period (up from 781 in 2016), and its wages bill for the year shot up from £31.7m to £34.6m.

SHS is listed as having seven directors, with its chief executive being Elaine Birchall, and they were paid a combined £2,159,249 over the period.

The highest paid director received just shy of a million pounds all in (£995,094).

As well as its own brands, SHS also operates as agent or distributor for a raft of other products including Ryvita, Jordans, Finish, Mars Drinks and Colgate.

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