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For Scottish shortbread maker, sterling crunch pushes up Brexit costs

Sterling’s plunge since Britain dicated to leave the Eu has pressed up costs a lot for Scottish shortbread maker Bill Dean he might have to lift prices to balance the books.

Already Dean, who employs 150 people at his factory within the rural northeastern county of Aberdeenshire, includes a 3 million pound ($ million) investment intend on hold and states he might eventually need to shrink his business – and the workforce – if costs keep rising.

Dean’s family business, born in the mother’s kitchen within the 1970s, imports the main ingredients from the wealthy traditional Scottish biscuit: butter, flour and sugar. However, only 8 % of his sales are abroad, so for him the weak pound brings couple of benefits and lots of headaches.

Sterling’s 17 % dive against both dollar and euro since Britons chosen “Brexit” on June 23 – signaling a rest using more than 4 decades of stable trade within Europe – originates on the top of some other problem that’s eroding profitability for that factory in the hometown of Huntly.

Prices for butter – and shortbread needs a variety of it – have leaped 75 % because the referendum, inflated not just by the weak pound but additionally by volatile prices of their raw material, milk, on European commodity markets.

“Before long with greater costs and loss of blood cash to maintain, your margin will get eaten away as well as your (profit) has had a pasting,” Dean, who turns 52 on Monday, told Reuters.

“No enterprise is capable of doing absorbing individuals type of cost increases for just about any period of time,Inch Dean stated at his factory. “We’d be searching in a reduced business design with less people if the cost trend continues in in the future.Inch

Brexit might push-up prices for British shoppers, and contains already cast doubt on job prospects. In the other finish from the corporate scale from Dean, Japanese giant Nissan has stated it might scrap potential purchase of Britain’s greatest vehicle plant unless of course the federal government compensates it for just about any new tax barriers erected publish-Brexit through the EU.

However, some British-based companies will take advantage of the less strong pound, making their exports more competitive – as lengthy because they have tariff-free accessibility single European market.

The FTSE 100 stock index, which comprises the greatest London-listed corporations, has soared 20 % since referendum day-to near record levels. Overall, such groups earn the majority of their cash abroad, therefore the currency slide enhances the profits they report in sterling.


Dean, whose business started when his mother’s shortbread recipe grew to become a popular together with his father’s bagpipe band, doesn’t have such buffer because of his low-level of exports.

Scots voted in which to stay the EU but were outweighed with a strong “leave” lead to Britain, so Dean has to handle the uncertainties of Brexit. Which has meant freezing the 3 million pound expansion plan to create a bigger number of cakes and biscuits, including gluten-free products for purchasers who’re intolerant to ingredients for example wheat.

“It’s no small investment for all of us but it is come slap bang in the center of a moving situation which we’ve no control of, therefore it is not really a comfortable spot to be,” the previous metalworker stated.

For a company which has bending annual turnover to eight.5 million pounds previously ten years, the mixture of greater costs and ongoing uncertainty is damaging.

“We have not got this type of big cushion to ride it with of individuals barrels coming at us,” he stated, adding that transport costs also have risen 3 to 4 percent.


Ten or twenty yards away within the capital of scotland- Aberlour, a bigger family-owned producer of shortbread, cakes and traditional savory oatcakes exports about 40 % of sales, which arrived at 137 million pounds in 2013, helping it to resist the hit from less strong sterling.

But, like his smaller sized rival, proprietor Jim Master comes with an additional worry: keeping his many foreign employees. With sterling in a five-year low from the euro, some EU workers will dsicover work compensated in sterling less attractive which combines with doubts over if they’d like to remain in Britain after Brexit.

Food producers employ about 110,000 foreign EU citizens in great britan, about 30 % from the industry’s total, but Pm Theresa May has guaranteed to impose controls on immigration in the bloc after Britain leaves.

Within this rural outpost, a four-hour drive in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh and 1,000 km (600 miles) north based in london, workers are difficult to find and pricey to coach. “Foreigners might drift home if there’s a persistent negative sentiment within this country,” Master told Reuters.

“(They) constitute about 300 or 400 in our 1,700 staff and they’ve been a genuine focal point in the organization,” stated Master, the 3rd generation of his family to operate the firm. “Many food manufacturers within this place in the world particularly, with a small population, are extremely determined by them.”

Companies will also be worried by recent comments from May that have convinced some investors that by restricting immigration, Britain could finish up without preferential accessibility single European market by which products or services move freely.

Packed in red-tartan boxes, a lot of Walkers’ biscuits and cakes are high-margin gift foods that sell well abroad. Because of this he describes single market access as fundamental and hopes “good senseInch will prevail.

“Britain is an even bigger customer throughout Europe than a supplier so (single market membership) is really as much to their benefit around it’s in ours.”

($1 = .8045 pounds)

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