Oilseed rape marketing company United Oilseeds has announced that it almost doubled turnover and made a pre-tax profit of £1.26m (up 38%) in the last financial year (y/e 30 June 2008).

The strong performance was largely a result of increased volumes of crops traded, higher seed sales and significantly improved commodity prices during the first half of the year, managing director, Chris Baldwin said.

Group turnover increased from nearly £21m in 2007 to £40.6m, while the group’s net worth grew by 28% to a value of £4.03m.

Non-pool tonnage traded each year had increased by 192% over the last four years and 47% over the past 12 months alone, Mr Baldwin said. “We have also paid out a total profit share of some £606,000 to trading members over the last two years, thereby helping our members to secure a better return from their crops.”

But looking ahead, Mr Baldwin said 2009 was likely to be much more challenging, as there had been significant increases in input costs and a reduction in commodity values due to a number of global economic factors.

He also estimated the total UK rape acreage would be down by around 20% nationally, due to difficult, and in some cases, impossible, establishment, which meant there would be less tonnage to trade next harvest.

“Volatility in the market place therefore looks likely to remain in the short-term.”