Blackford, 27th September 2019: Highland Spring Group, the UK’s leading producer of natural source waters, has posted its annual results for year end to 31 December 2018. The business showed a strong performance with sales revenues exceeding £110m and Highland Spring growing its leading position as the no.1 brand in the UK market.
Environmental sustainability remains at the heart of all business activities, with the Group committed to meeting the needs of a truly circular plastics economy. A strong focus on business efficiencies, has enabled the Group to respond effectively to variations in market conditions, through improved ways of working and increased use of one of the fastest, most technologically advanced PET bottled drinks line in the UK.
Following a successful trial in 2018, the 100% recycled and recyclable Highland Spring eco bottle, has now been rolled-out permanently across the UK. The business in on a journey to introduce more recycled plastic across the Highland Spring range and the introduction of a well-designed Deposit Return Scheme in England, Scotland and Wales will help with the availability of good quality recycled materials. The company will also continue to invest in projects to reduce the amount of PET plastic in the manufacture and production of Highland Spring products with a goal of decreasing its use of PET plastic by 20 per cent.
A new rail siding, adjacent to the Group’s main bottling plant, is being planned in partnership with Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government. This will enable the business to transport goods in a more environmentally sustainable way and reduce its carbon footprint through the removal of circa 8,000 truck movements from the road per year, saving 3,200 tonnes of CO2.
Commenting on the annual results, Mark Steven, Chief Operating Officer, Highland Spring Group, said: “We are proud to have grown the Highland Spring brand, to enable us to maintain the No.1 branded position in the UK, adding over 23 million litres to volume sales. Annual sales of the Highland Spring brand now exceeds 300m litres, with Highland Spring Group’s share of the total UK Bottled Water market at 16.4%.
As a responsible business, we will continue to invest in and develop innovative solutions focused on providing healthy hydration in an environmentally sustainable way which meets the needs of our customers and consumers. Based on our market insight and the continued demand for healthy products, we are confident that there continues to be a strong market for natural source waters, which grew for the tenth consecutive year with annual growth of 7.9% in 2018.
Our underlying operating profit for 2018 was £2.37m, a year on year reduction of 43% mainly due to further significant increases in raw material costs, particularly on PET, which were absorbed by the business. Significantly improved production efficiencies at our main Blackford facility, alongside a strong focus on supply chain management, have helped to partially off-set these material price increases. These improved efficiencies also helped us deliver higher levels of customer service and maximise sales in periods of peak demand.
We believe consumer education on recycling is central to closing the loop on plastic waste. We will continue to invest in activities which increase recycling rates and encourage the careful and responsible disposal of used products through our ‘Love to Recycle’ campaigns. A great example of this is our recent sponsorship of The 2019 Solheim Cup, where we arranged for the collection of all bottles at the golf tournament so they can be recycled and made once more into other bottles.”
About Highland Spring Group
Highland Spring Group is the UK’s leading supplier of natural source water. Now bottling over 400 million litres of water a year, the Highland Spring Group produces brands including Highland Spring, Speyside Glenlivet, Hydr8 and a range of private label flavoured and unflavoured waters for some of the UK’s major supermarkets and food service retailers.