16 May 1997

Lower profits for AQM

EAST Anglian livestock marketing co-op, Anglia Quality Meat, has reported a year of higher turnover but reduced profit as BSE hit the cattle side of the business.

Cattle numbers dropped 4.5% to 6540. But finished pigs – the mainstay of the business – increased 13% to 291,000, and lambs were up 14% to 19,600, helping lift turnover to over £34m. Most of these animals were farm assured, a trend which AQM chairman, Eustace Bullman, says is essential to counter the effects of a diminishing number of buyers.

But the financial surplus dropped 5% to £127,800. Of this, £87,000 will be returned to the groups 280 members to cover all marketing levies made during 1996, with the balance retained to cover relocation costs. Members will also receive a share of £95,200 being paid out of the co-ops bad debt fund after a year in which no claims were made. &#42