By FWi staff

THE current foot-and-mouth outbreak has taken the gloss off Aberdeenshire-based ANM Groups annual results, which showed an increase of 55% in trading profit to the year to 31 December.

The disease outbreak has not only meant that the groups livestock auction division, Aberdeen and Northern Marts, which had a pre-tax profit in 2000 of 253,000, has been unable to hold any sales for the past seven weeks.

But, it has also resulted in the delay of the annual meeting, originally due to be held on 3 April and now set for later in the year on 29 May.

Figures in the latest annual report and accounts show trading profit for the year up 55% to 1.45m, compared with 940,000 in 1999.

Net profit was 1 million after allowing for a 7% dividend to shareholders and 463,000 tax.

Chief executive Brian Pack told a press conference that all the net profit had been added to reserves, resulting in almost 17.3m in the bank.

But he added: “The crisis facing the whole of the livestock industry does, unfortunately, take the shine off these results.

“However, the groups ability to earn sufficient profit to add 1m to reserves must reassure shareholders of our ability to withstand the crisis, adjust our business and remain profitable and relevant to them in the future.

“We can only hope that we remain free of the disease in the area already designated by the Scottish Executive as provisionally free and that this will allow our marts to recommence trading in the near future.”

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