Record Sales Taste Sweet for Chocolate Firm

A long-established Angus company which has made a significant investment at its “world class” manufacturing site has reported record sales and turnover.

MacIntyre Chocolate Systems is a major exporter, supplying chocolate manufacturing and processing equipment to most countries on the planet.

The Arbroath business, which currently employs 49 people, turned over £7.1 million in its last financial year.

Managing director Joe Gorman would like to see this figure hit £10 million in the next few years.

Numerous firms throughout the UK have suffered badly as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but MacIntyre has continued to perform strongly.

Mr Gorman said: “We have had no negative impact to our employees, business or operation from Covid – 2020 was a fantastic year for MacIntyre.”

He said Brexit and its resulting issues had not affected the Angus business either, as it had prepared itself well in advance through its risk-management process.

The firm was previously known as Low & Duff (Developments), or LADCO, and was incorporated in 1974 by Stuart Anderson.

LADCO had been based across several sites in Tayside/Angus before finally settling into the current facility in Arbroath in 1998.

In 2013, Mr Anderson sold LADCO Group, and it is now part of Hamburg Dresdner Maschinenfabrik group of companies.

The LADCO name was changed to MacIntyre Chocolate Systems in 2018.

Mr Gorman said LADCO had many different types of designs and machines for producing whole chocolate production lines, but since 2013 this had been scaled back to focus on its core products: the MacIntyre refiner/conche systems and its rework mixer.

The managing director said exports are responsible for 98% of the firm’s business.

He added: “We have MacIntyre refiner/conches in over 109 countries which process pure milk chocolate, milk compound, dairy and sugar-free chocolate spreads, nut chocolate spreads, nut and seed spreads and rework of products.”

The main market regions are Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Asia-Pacific, and North, Central and South America.

Mr Gorman said: “We are experiencing a period of growth from customers who have a demand for dairy and sugar-free products, who are looking for full automation and for reducing their overhead costs by reducing their production cycle times and energy usage, so the new next generation of MacIntyre refiner/conche now fulfils these demands.”

He added that this equipment sets a new benchmark in terms of low maintenance, energy efficiency and production efficacy for manufacturers wishing to to produce high-quality chocolate and confectionery products.

“Maximum capacity with minimum energy consumption and zero unnecessary waste have been the guiding principles in the design of the next generation refiner/conche, maintaining its position as the premium method of chocolate processing.”

The managing director said MacIntyre has a continuous improvement plan.

He went on: “We are constantly looking at new technology and ways for our customers to produce more efficiently, so we will hopefully have a new product ready for the market in the next 12 months.”

It was March 2017 when Mr Gorman joined MacIntyre as operations director, before being promoted to his current post in 2019.

He has more than 30 years’ experience at varying leadership levels in manufacturing, oil and gas and food engineering sectors, as well as having served in the RAF.

In the last four years, nearly £1 million has been invested in developing employees, creating innovation throughout the firm’s products and changing the manufacturing site into becoming “world class”.

The managing director said the investment plan will continue and MacIntyre will be looking to upgrade its CNC machining capability.

Asked about opportunities ahead, he added: “The demand for new next-generation refiner/conches is our main opportunity.

“For the first time in our existence, we can now compete with ball mill technology on cycle time and energy consumption.  We can now enter into new markets and compete for sales.”

On the subject of possible threats to MacIntyre, Mr Gorman said: “We have seen a 40% increase in prices for raw material like carbon steel.

“This could have a longer-term impact to Scottish and UK manufacturing when trying to compete against countries who supply similar products to MacIntyre much cheaper.

“Our competition comes from companies in China, India, Brazil, France and Spain who have basic copies of our refiner/conche design – and also companies in the Netherlands, Switzerland and China who manufacture ball mills, as this id the technology we really compete against.”

The managing director also gave an insight into where the Angus business could be five years from now.

He said: “I see MacInytre continue to be the number-one leading brand for designing and manufacturing refiner/conche machines, as we will continue to invest in our employees, innovation and our production machines and capability, which will hopefully drive us to a £10 million turnover company.”

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