GENUS HAS announced record profits and an increased dividend for the year ended Mar 31.

Turnover at the international bovine genetics company increased 6% to £184m, while pre-tax profits rose 58% to £8.1m.

But it was the firm’s non-core operations that were the backbone of the performance.

These accounted for 56% of turnover and included a 69% hike in underlying operating profits at Animal Health sales.

The underlying profit contribution from Bovine Genetics was down marginally due to increased competition in the USA and the impact of BSE in North America.

But market share improved in the USA, Latin America and Australia.

Chief executive Richard Wood said: “This is an exceptionally strong result in the unusual circumstances of difficult conditions occurring simultaneously in so many international markets.

“It is seldom so many markets suffer dramatically at the same time.”

But he said the world outlook was improving. “US prices hardened steadily throughout the third quarter and all market commentators are predicting an upturn.

“We believe that in 2004/5 Bovine Genetics will return to the strong growth profile historically achieved.”

Farmers who own shares in Genus will see their dividends increase 18% to 6.5p/share.