ONE of East Lancashire’s largest firms has suffered a big slump in profits.

Darwen-based Crown Paints’ year-end figures reveal that profits fell by a third, down to £15.9million.

The results also showed a fall in revenue, from £188million to £174million.

The company, which has a base in Hollins Road, ascribed the disappointing returns to worries over Brexit and losing a major customer, which no longer offers its products.

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union is said to affect the company’s ability to purchase raw materials at competitive and predictable prices from the eurozone.

Directors said the company, which is owned by the Hempel Group, had already begun streamlining back-office processes last year and had started to diversify its product range.

Managing director Joe Devitt said: “As a business that provides products to both consumers and industry, we are continually monitoring and adapting to the many economic changes that can impact our business.

“We have worked hard this year to further diversify our product portfolio to open up new markets and have maximised cost efficiencies to ensure we are operating at our best.

“Several new business wins have already been secured to counter the delisting of our products by one UK retailer and these new wins look set to return us to healthy growth in the future.”

The company report said: “Both retail and trade paint markets in the UK remain highly competitive trading environments.

“Business performance during the year has again been mixed, with growth coming from some customer segments, but overall declined due to the delisting of certain ranges within a major UK retail customer.

“The loss of sales has resulted in the short-term shrinkage of the business, from both a revenue and a cost perspective, but has also allowed, and will continue to allow, the business to take this available capacity forward into new business opportunities in both retail and trade.”

During the period, staff numbers fell from 1,018 in 2015 to 974 in 2016.