Carr's Milling has underlined the importance of its £17million flour mill at Kirkcaldy to its continuing strong financial performance.

The Carlisle-based agriculture, food and engineering group, which in April said the mill commissioned last September had driven a near doubling of profits in its food division to £1million in the first half, said yesterday: "The new mill has been operational for 10 months and delivering all the planned technological benefits as expected. This year's UK harvest is expected to be large but the quality remains unknown at this stage."

Carr's said in an interim management statement that its UK position has been strengthened through the acquisition of Merit (Feeds & Storage) Ltd, a compound feed and retail business based in Lancashire.

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Its country store refurbishment programme of the last 12 months had resulted in significant improvements and increased efficiencies. The group had also enjoyed a significant uplift in demand from dairy customers for its patent-protected rumen-bypass protein product, supporting its ambition of becoming the UK leader in dairy nutrition.

Global demand for Carr's feed blocks was continuing, with increased recognition of the brands.

Chirton Engineering, acquired in April this year, has been successfully integrated into the engineering division.

The shares were up 15p at 1765p.