14 April 2000
Farm co-ops in merger talks

By Robert Harris

A MERGER that would create the biggest farmer-controlled business in the UK is on the cards.

Countrywide Farmers (CWF) and SCATS announced today that they are holding detailed discussions which, if successful, will produce a company with a turnover of 325 million and shareholder funds of over 55m.

The new business, which will boast 14,000 farmer shareholders, will operate throughout the southern half of the UK.

It will market at least 2m tonnes of grain a year, making it one of the largest grain businesses in the country.

It will also make about 300,000t of compound feeds and distribute over 250,000t of fertiliser a year.

The company will supply 40,000t of cereal, oilseed and herbage seed, and will become the UKs largest rural retailer with 55 outlets generating sales of 65m.

John Bush, chairman of CWF, expects big benefits:

“Our farmer shareholders will benefit from the improved purchasing power of the merged business, greater market influence and from improved profitability following cost savings in head office, administration and distribution overheads.”