4 April 1997

BSE-related aid puts shine on ANM trading

ANM meat and mart group, based in north-east Scotland, has reported a record trading profit of £1.6m for 1996, helped by BSE-related compensation.

The most remarkable performance in the groups portfolio came from the Scotch Premier Meat subsidiary, with abattoirs at Inverurie and Edinburgh. It made a profit of just over £1m compared with a loss of £67,000 in 1995 despite a reduction of £26m in turnover.

Chief executive, Brian Pack, refused to disclose how much of that profit had come from the over-30-month scheme and BSE-related compensation, but said both had made "significant contributions".

Cost cutting and reduced staffing (542 down to 460) had saved £700,000 for the group as a whole. This would be even more crucial in 1997 when BSE compensation to farmers and traders would be much reduced.

The firm is to spend £200,000 in the next few weeks to upgrade its Edinburgh abattoir. It is also tendering for an OTMS contract.

Another subsidiary, Yorkshire Premier Meat, which specialises in processing forequarter beef for the ready meals market was badly hit by BSE, making a profit of just £19m, down from £142m.

The auction mart business made a profit of £482,000, down from almost £700,000 in 1995. It was saved from a worse trading position by the closure of three marts during the year. Mart turnover fell from £5.4m to £5m.

"Our auction mart business survived the year and made a profit. But we have everything to face. Three supermarket groups – ASDA, Tesco, and Marks & Spencer are now refusing to source cattle from livestock marts," said Mr Pack.

The electronic and satellite auction company, Agvision, in which ANM has a half share, was badly hit by BSE and recorded a loss of £280,000.

ANM is a farmer co-operative with 8000 members who will receive a 7.5% dividend on shares. &#42

Allan Wright