The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Ayrshire sausage kings Belcher Food Products
serve up sizzling profits

By: Murdoch MacDonald

THE MAN nicknamed Scotland’s sausage king has boosted his Prestwick firm Belcher Food Products’ annual profits by a massive 123 per cent.

Ephraim Belcher's return last year to hands-on management of the sausage business he founded in the 1960s has paid off with an increase in pre-tax profits from £802,000 to £1.8 million.

Although the Ayrshire company Belcher Food Products saw a 20% fall in turnover to £21.7m, which the company attributed to factors ranging from a restructuring of the management team to loss of low margin business, gross profit margins rose from 19% in 2006 to 23% in 2007.

But the company has still to return to the success of 2004, when it recorded profits of £4m.

The firm cited a series of cost reviews that led to a 23% drop in operating expenses as a driver of its success.

“None of the costs savings has been detrimental to the quality of the product produced by the company,” Belcher Food Products said in a statement.

Belcher’s return to the front-line followed a restructuring at the Prestwick-based company in March 2006 that saw the departure of his sole boardroom colleague, sales and marketing director Neil Pearson, who was replaced by William Pettigrew. Belcher and Pettigrew shared emoluments of £135,186 over the year, down from £174,234 shared by the directors the year before.

Ephraim Belcher is now the sole shareholder of the private company.

Mr Belcher, 64, started out with a butcher’s shop at Tam’s Brig in Ayr, back in the late 1960s.

Some claimed he was mad to think about expanding into factory meat processing.

But Belcher Food Products became a major supplier of frozen sausages to UK supermarkets, employing 160 people.

The firm also opened a £14 million production plant to supply cooked burgers and sausages to pubs and restaurants.

Flamboyant Mr Belcher regularly features on rich lists of Scotland’s top 10 earners.

And in 2003 he bought Cloncaird Castle (pictured above) in the countryside between Kirkmichael and Straiton.

The impressive castle boasts five reception rooms, a billiard room, 14 bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

It has 90 acres of land, fishing rights for a stretch of the River Girvan, two cottages and a stable block with a house.

Mr Belcher has gifted thousands of pounds to charity, and has also made sizeable donations to the Conservative Party.

He is regarded as a shrewd businessmen who won’t borrow from banks if he can help it.

Investments should be made out of profits rather than bank loans, he believes. And he isn’t impressed by those who set out to get rich quick.

Mr Belcher has been quoted as saying: “A business is for life. It is not about making a fast buck.”

Glenburn Food Products Ltd
Glenburn Road

Telephone: 01292 479451
Fax: 01292 671097

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