By Tom Allen-Stevens

THE Southern Counties Agricultural Trading Society Ltd (SCATS) has reported a 2 million improvement in its trading results.

The farmer-owned company has posted a pre-tax loss of 350,000 on a turnover of 220 million for the financial year ending 30 June 2001.

In the previous 17-month financial period, SCATS suffered a restated pre-tax loss of 2,400,000 on a turnover of 211 million.

Retail sales through the 20 SCATS Countrystores grew 10.6% to 19.7 million, accounting for most of the improvement in profitability, says managing director Tim Pollock.

Turnover in the companys arable subsidiaries was up 40% to 191 million, but operating profits fell, says the company.

Mr Pollock attributes this to high costs resulting from the June 2000 acquisition of the former grain division of Countrywide Farmers.

Now renamed Grainfarmers, SCATS grain division is one of the UKs largest.

Two years ago it merged with Lincolnshire-based BDR Grain, and took over the grain interests of West Country Farmers in July this year.

The company has 2,600 member-shareholders, the vast majority of them farmers.

This has fallen by 100 over the past year, primarily as a result of members retiring from farming, says Mr Pollock.

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