17 April 1997

Sentry profits down by 93%

SENTRY Farming Group has announced a 93% slump in pre-tax profits, making just £94,000 last year.

The collapse in commodity prices due to the strength of the £ is the main reason, though poor weather at harvest is also blamed.

The company also reports that Farmwealth, a UK registered agricultural investment company with whom Sentry has contracts in central Europe, owes the group £493,000 of which £85,000 is due. Farmwealth is attempting to raise the cash through a share issue.

Sentry has also announced it is selling its Friarsthorne Farm in Norfolk for £1.45m, the result of an unsolicited offer deemed "too good to ignore". But it is contract farming 10% more land in the UK, and 35% more in central Europe, compared with a year ago.

Despite that boost to coffers, shares fell 2p to 65p following the announcement, rounding off a £1 fall in the past 12 months. &#42