5 May 1995

Usborne claws back into pink

REORGANISATION of its pig division and a gradual improvement in the price of finishers during the second half of 1994 have helped merchanting group, Usborne to much-improved interim results.

Although the bottom line is still tinged with red, the £438,000 trading loss in the six months to Dec 31 is a far cry from the £8m loss it suffered over the same period of the previous year. This was achieved on 12% higher turnover of £98m.

The company has now withdrawn from intensive pig production and has relocated control of the pig business to its Hants headquarters. This helped reduce the loss from pig production to £743,000 compared with £8.06m in 1993.

Grain trading, which accounts for 89% of company turnover, continued to show a profit, despite "extremely competitive conditions in the market place", according to chairman Cecil Parkinson. But at £354,000, this was well down on the £947,000 contribution to last years interims.

(See Business Interview on page 25)