29 January 1999

Umbrella firm opens in west

AN umbrella company set up by West Country farmers to ensure they receive a better share of the retail price for meat and meat-based products got the go-ahead last week when the minimum share capital of £150,000 was reached.

Triple S Ranch has four subsidiary companies. West Country Beef was launched last autumn (Livestock, Nov 13), and three other companies have been registered – West Country Pork and Bacon, West Country Prime Lamb, and the Triple S Meat Company.

Close of business today (Jan 29) is the deadline for applications for remaining shares.

The company is working with Devon-based Abbey Vale Bakeries which will use forequarter meat in pastry-based products. A royalty on each pastry item will be paid to the relevant Triple S subsidiary.

The decision to set up a plc rather than a co-op was made because it was believed money invested in the shares would, under the Enterprise Investment Scheme, qualify for 20% income tax relief for the investor.

Shares retained for at least five years should be exempt from capital gains tax on first disposal. &#42

John Burns