Profits hot at Fleetwood lozenge firm

Fisherman's Friend in Fleetwood
Fisherman's Friend in Fleetwood

The company behind a world famous Fleetwood product has seen turnover and operating profits rise in a successful year.

Lofthouse of Fleetwood which makes the Fisherman’s Friend lozenges has seen a 7.2 per cent rise in turnover to £55.84m for the year to 31 December 2018.

Profit hit £4.1m up from £2.98m the year before.

The firm which employs more than 380 people in the port said the profit leap was “partly because of manufacturing efficiencies resulting from the significant capital expenditure over the past few years and partly because of a significant reduction in selling and distribution costs.”

It said capital expenditure for the year was £6.8m and it said the firm was continuing to invest to increase efficiency of the manufacturing and distribution process.

The annual report revealed the firm was part way through a programme of “re-evaluating all management aspects of the business.”

The directors, Duncan and Doreen Lofthouse, said that the company was seeing growth in the South East Asia market, where it has a factory.

But they warned that supermarkets worldwide were continuing to put pressure on manufacturers and suppliers to reduces prices and costs. They also warned that Brexit uncertainty may have an effect on the business as “a significant amount of the company’s trade is done in Europe.”

The results came in the year that the family firm lost managing director and husband to Doreen, Tony Lofthouse, who died aged 74.

Looking ahead to the future Mr Lofthouse said : "Work is continuing on the development and modification of existing products to meet customers' requirements and, through a continuing programme of research and development, to take advantage of new technology as it becomes available."

The company operates from a 600,000 sq ft factory and produces more than five billion mediacted lozenges a year.

The firm was started by Fleetwood pharmacist James Lofthouse who developed a menthol and eucalyptus liquid and later a lozenge for fishermen to take on chilly North Atlantic voyages.