The Berwick-based firm, which includes agricultural merchanting division McCreath Simpson & Prentice, recorded a profit before tax of £4.7m (2019: £9.8m) from a turnover of £123.5m (2019: £168m).
The reduced profit in 2020 was due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the malting division of the business, particularly in the second quarter of the year.
During that time, the whole malt supply chain was adjusting to the government-imposed lockdown measures and, as a result, many of the company’s brewing and distilling customers either closed or operated at significantly reduced production levels.
In the second half of the year, malt sales started to recover due to lockdown measures easing in the summer and customers adjusting to the ongoing impact of the pandemic on their businesses. This was particularly evident with brewers, many of whom found new ways to deliver beer to their customers.
The agricultural merchanting division of the business was less impacted by the pandemic, with demand and profitability remaining resilient across the whole year.
Simpsons Malt Managing Director Tim McCreath said: “The past 15 months have been extremely challenging for everybody in the malting supply chain due to the hospitality sector being either closed, or operating at a reduced capacity, for most of that time.
"As such, I would like to pay tribute to our customers in the brewing, distilling and food industries who have had to constantly adapt to the changing restrictions they have had to face.
“However, our biggest concern throughout the year was the safety and wellbeing of our staff, shareholders and their families. I would like to thank them for their hard work, flexibility and commitment, which has been greatly appreciated throughout what was an unprecedented year.
“Moving forward, the pandemic is still causing some uncertainty but there are positive signs. The malting division of the business has performed very well throughout the first five months of 2021 and we’re cautiously optimistic that malt demand will remain healthy for the remainder of the year.
"The overall prospects for the merchanting division of the business remain positive too, with cereal and crop input values strengthening.”