Laxey Glen Mills’ overall losses more than doubled and sales plummeted as it faced a series of unprecedented challenges.
And those challenges are now greater still with the mill having lost its main customer with the closure of Ramsey Bakery in May last year.
Accounts for the year ending March 2022 will be laid before the April Tynwald.
They show total losses increased from £18,979 in 2021 to £39,050 in 2022.
The cost of sales dived during the same period from £758,963 to £493,660.
But the mill did turn an operating profit of £62,424 for the year and it was a major loss on revaluation of investment property that took it into the red.
Laxey Glen Mills chairman Amanda Bindon noted in her financial statement: ‘The Mill has rarely seen so many challenges in its history from global pandemic, silo failure, a one in 20 crop failure, battling aging machinery and now rapid cost increases.’
Flour sales include a £41,000 subsidy from the Treasury, which is the ultimate beneficial owner of the company. It also acts as guarantor for the loan facility in place, that guarantee amounting to £176,000.
During 2021-22, a further £125,000 was received from government as part of a strategic review to ensure the mill was fit for purpose.
Work was finally completed during the year on repairing, recommissioning and then refilling silo 1 which had originally failed in early 2019.
With the building in need of a major refurbishment, all options for the future of the operation were looked at from refurbishment to a new mill on a new site or closure.
Proposals were presented to government but had to be revised in the wake of the closure of Ramsey Bakery.
Chief Minister Alfred Cannan told the House of Keys this month that the closure of Ramsey Bakery had brought to a head issues around the viability of the mill.
Ramsey Bakery took around 80% of all the flour produced by Laxey Glen Mills, and so its closure had an ‘immediate impact’, he said.
It has been forced to spread its fixed costs over sales which were over 80% lower, all compounded by spiralling costs, and particularly energy prices.
Mr Cannan said that even before the loss of its key market, the mill had already identified that its current business model wasn’t sustainable as its buildings and much of its internal infrastructure were in a ‘perilous state’.
The future of the mill will be determined in the island’s new food and agricultural strategy.
Ms Bindon took over as chairman from Phil Dunne at the beginning of April last year.
Writing her chairman’s statement in June 2022, she said that the war in Ukraine had highlighted the volatility of the world’s commodity prices.
She said: ‘We have seen on the island the effect of this in increased wheat costs, a dramatic increase in gluten costs as well as fuel. All of these means that the cost of flour will rise. However, once again as in the Covid pandemic, the island sees the benefits of having local suppliers and a local mill to protect local flour supplies.’
The 2021-22 accounts show the mill employed six people during the year, down from eight the year before.
Directors received remuneration of £21,000.