BURNESIDE papermaking company James Cropper has reported an after-tax profits increase – thanks to strong US sales.

Profit after tax in 2013-14 was £1.3m compared to £872,000 in the previous financial year.

Sales in the States were up 15 per cent while UK sales rose by six per cent and other overseas exports made a seven per cent increase.


However, the weak US dollar, which fell 10 per cent against Sterling during the year, affected the group’sturnover.

The company created a new facility in New York and shifted its US operations there, and also spent £1.5 million on specialist kit.

It also established a subsidiary company in China for selling there.

But punishing new EU rules for carbon dioxide emissions saw the group’s annual output cut from 41,000 tonnes a year to 16,000 tonnes with financial implications for the company, UK green taxes and a pensions deficit have also eaten into overall profits.

Company chairman Mark Cropper said: “Although turnover grew strongly in the year, profitability was affected by exchange rate fluctutations, exceptional restructuring expenditure, increased pulp and energy costs and the consequence of increased ‘green’ taxes.

“I am pleased with progess in the past year. The group has made a number of significant investments across all aspects of business and while these have combined with higher input costs to impact the current year’s profitability, we are confi-dent they provide a stronger platform to future growth.”

Of its British operations, Mr Cropper said its luxury packaging products conti-nued to represent a growth opportunity.

“We are especially proud of our strong relationship with leading brands such as Burberry,” he said. “This British super-brand uses distinctive high quality paper made at Burneside in nearly all its packaging.”

The company’s annual meeting will take place on July 30 at The Bryce Institute in Burneside, where the board is expected to declare a 5.7p per share dividend in respect of ordinary shares.