Leading Welsh cheesemaker South Caernarfon Creameries has delivered a record year during the pandemic, making operating profts of £3.4million.

SCC is Wales' largest farmer-owned dairy cooperative, and the firm's sales topped £61million last year, owing to an increase in supermarket sales across the UK.

"In a year like no other we have delivered a resilient business performance while continuing to pay one of the best milk prices in Wales to our farmer-members," SCC's managing director, Alan Wyn Jones, said.

The company has also started expansion work at its headquarters in Chwilog, near Pwllheli, which will boost production capacity and create 30 new jobs.

But while the past year's sales are good news – more than double the amount SCC sold five years ago – Alan said the UK's exit from the European Union had brought challenges.

"The new Brexit trading arrangements have added costs and administration to exporting which is having a negative impact on returns in the UK and making selling our products into the wider market more difficult and costly than it has been in the past," he said.

The National Wales: Alan Wyn Jones of South Caernarfon Creameries.Alan Wyn Jones of South Caernarfon Creameries.

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He added: “While the year ahead will remain challenging as we continue to manage the business alongside the pandemic conditions and seeing cost inflation now coming through from raw materials and key overheads, the positives are that global economies will continue to recover, the fundamentals of dairy look positive.

“Our focus remains on the delivery of our objectives and the opportunities ahead, which we are now well-placed to take advantage of to deliver long-term business performance and prosperity for our stakeholders.”

The current expansion, christened Project Dragon and supported by the Welsh Government with £5million from its Food Business Investment Scheme, is aimed at increasing production capacity and improving its operational and environmental performance.

A new whey plant at the SCC factory will mean an extra 70million litres of Welsh milk can be processed there, with turnover expected to rise to £85million over the course of the next three years.

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