1 March 2002

Profits up yet turnover down

INTERIM results for Carlisle-based H&H Group showan increase in profits, despite reduced turnover.

The group, which includes Harrison & Hetherington, the farmstock and livestock auctioneering business, made a pre-tax profit of £179,000, a 22% increase on the year for the six months to the end of December 2001. Turnover was down by 20% at £2.37m for the same period.

No financial figures were available for the auctioneer in the interims, which includes a large portion of the foot-and-mouth crisis, said finance director John Lawrence.

"The group has done better than expected, given that the rings were shut."

He said regulations were forcing costs up, with H&H requiring six more staff on a sale day.

"We think there should be more pressure on DEFRA to look at the regulations again. Volumes are down, and costs are up."

With many pedigree stock missing a breeding cycle, because of F&M, the group doesnt expect stock volumes to recover to pre-F&M levels for another 18-24 months. &#42