3 April 1998

Profits slacken at ANM

FARMER-owned meat and marts group ANM based at Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, has reported a trading profit of £600,000 for 1997. That is £1m less than the previous years record high when returns were boosted by BSE-related compensation.

Turnover, including commission only for auction marts and estate agency business, rose from £71.3m to £79.2m.

The biggest fall in profitability was in the Scotch Premier Meat subsidiary, from more than £1m in 1996 to £278,000 last year. "Added costs equivalent to £40/head on cattle and £1/lamb are being heaped on the industry and, with the oversupply of beef in Europe, it is difficult for meat companies to recoup these extra costs," said chief executive Brian Pack.

Star performer in the meat business was Yorkshire Premier Meat which specialises in ready-cooked meals for the catering industry. Its turnover increased by nearly 30% to £17.7m and turned in a profit of £147,000 compared with £19,000 the previous year.

The auction mart made a profit of £310,000 (£482,000 in 1986), including a substantial contribution from non-agricultural auctions.

A shareholder dividend of 8% has been recommended for the groups 8000 farmer members. That will take £133,000 from profits and £448,000 will be added to reserves, giving a total group valuation of £15.8m. &#42