ICE CREAM maker Mackie’s of Scotland has raised turnover and profits on the back of further success in the UK market and a hike in exports, enabling significant bonuses for its staff.

The company, which also produces chocolate, highlighted new sales in Taiwan and growth in business with Costco in South Korea as it revealed it had increased turnover by about £500,000 to £11.6 million in its last financial year.

Underlying operating profits rose by 10 per cent to £907,000 in the year to May 31, 2015.

Mac Mackie, managing director of Mackie’s of Scotland, revealed that the company would be able to pay a bonus of 10 per cent on all salaries as a result of the profits achieved.

Mackie’s made pre-tax profits of £1.9 million, including a one-off gain on the sale of land, up from £860,566 in the prior 12 months.

The Aberdeenshire-based family business, which dates back to 1912 and employs 66 staff, has built up a 20 per cent share of the ice cream market in Scotland.

The company noted that it had distribution across all major supermarkets and through several wholesalers for the food services sector, which supplies the likes of restaurants and hotels.

Mackie’s is confident it is bucking the general trend among the biggest ice cream companies in the UK with its growth. It cited increased listings in retailers and the launch of new flavours as factors in its growth in the UK market.

The company, which is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its ice cream during 2016, exports to Singapore, Malaysia and Ireland, as well as to South Korea and Taiwan. And it highlighted plans to target the Indian market as it aims for further growth in overseas sales.

Gerry Stephens, finance director at Mackie’s, said: “The company growth in ice cream sales is the result of increased listings and the introduction of new flavours in the UK. Opportunities for ice cream in the export market have also been fruitful, with 500 per cent increase through new sales in Taiwan, a growth in sales to Costco Korea and expansion plans in the pipeline for India.”

Although the company’s chocolate bars, launched in autumn 2014, account for a small proportion of overall sales, this part of the business is enjoying rapid growth.

A spokeswoman for Mackie’s put chocolate sales in the first year at £109,000. And she signalled strong growth in chocolate sales since then.

Mackie’s said: “The company’s chocolate bar range, which launched in autumn 2014, has…seen sales more than double (plus 120 per cent) since introduction to the market. It has continued to show growth across its four flavours both via listings in the UK in Scottish Sainsbury’s and Tesco stores as well as via food services and export sales via the distributor Gan Teck Kar in Singapore.”

The company highlighted the continuation of its £6 million investment programme. It noted this year would see the development of a new chocolate factory on the farm, the introduction of new ice cream machinery and packaging, as well as the upgrading of existing staff housing and the renovation of its product development kitchen.

It added that a significant portion of this investment had seen Mackie’s strengthen its green credentials, with the introduction of a fourth wind turbine on its Aberdeenshire farm. This, it noted, was in addition to the installation of nearly 7,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels.

Mr Mackie said: “These results are extremely encouraging, especially with the launch of our chocolate range and as we look forward to celebrating 30 years of Mackie’s ice cream. It shows that our investment in new product development, increased investment in our infrastructure, innovation, staff and renewables have helped continue the company’s growth.

“The profit announcement is also keenly watched by our staff – our staff bonus scheme is linked to target profits and this year we are pleased to be able to pay 10% on all salaries.”

He added: “We have big ambition for the year ahead [with] our continued investment in company growth, and our chocolate range is going from strength to strength with a new 35-gramme bar and new product development in the pipeline. We’re looking forward to seeing what 2016 has in store.”