Consumer goods giant SHS ups profits to £17.8m

Consumer goods giant SHS ups profits to £17.8m

Northern Ireland’s largest food and household goods business, established in 1975 by the Salters and Sloan families, said its trading year had been “incredibly challenging” as it navigated the pandemic, the continued fall-out from Brexit, and supply chain pressures.

Its turnover for the year slipped back from £655.6 million to £641.4 million.

Gross margin, a key performance indicator for the group, was 15 per cent during the period compared to 16 per cent a year earlier.

Staff numbers in 2021 increased from 1,210 to 1,271, leading to its wages bill jumping from £50.5m to £58.2m.

The seven directors at SHS were paid a combined £2,614,846 (up from £2,400,271 previously).

The highest paid of them, understood to be award-winning chief executive Elaine Birchall, had a package of £1,272,216, which is one of the biggest private sector salaries paid to any boss in the north.

A dividend of £9m was also paid to the controlling families.

SHS Group owns brands including WKD, Shloer, bottlegreen, Merrydown Cider, Crucial Sauces, Zip & Sunny Jim firelighters and Maguire & Paterson matches, and it also distributes brands including Jordans, Ryvita, Pot Noodle, Finish, Mars Drinks and Colgate.

It is also a market leader in the supply of own label herbs and spices in Britain and manufactures branded and private label condiments and sauces.

In May, founder Dr Joe Sloan stepped away from his day to day role in the company to become honorary president, with Karen Salters taking on the role of group chair.