Industry analyst Plimsoll unveils the great divide

A stark divide has been uncovered between Britain's meat companies.

A stark divide has been uncovered between Britain's meat companies, with research showing that half struggle to break even, while the other half make impressive returns.

Industry analyst Plimsoll Publishing looked at the financial performance of the top 1,001 British meat companies and analysed their profits. It found almost half of the companies made no profit and struggled to make any returns on their investments. One in five meat companies had reported a loss this year.

David Pattison, senior analyst, said: "We are seeing from these numbers just how tricky the

recent trading period has been for companies to return a profit and how many are really struggling. Yet at the same time, over half of companies assessed seem untouched by recent cost increases and competitive pricing. They have been able to record fantastic results."

The report showed that half of the companies are making 57% profit, nine times that of some struggling companies. The owners of these successful companies enjoyed high returns on their investments - 30.9% on average - and 16 of the top companies were enjoying their fourth consecutive year of profit growth.