22 March 1996

Usborne in profit

MERCHANTING group Usborne has announced a pre-tax profit of £325,000 from a turnover of £86.5m for the six months to Dec 31, 1995.

It represents a return to profit for the Hants-based group, which lost £438,000 over the same period in the previous year.

Helping the bottom line was a successful year of fertiliser merchanting. But grain trading continued to be a difficult area.

The results come shortly after the firms sale of its pig production business to BOCM Pauls for £5m.

Meanwhile, BOCM Pauls parent company, Harrisons and Crosfield, has shown a 20% rise in operating profit to £129.9m in the year to Dec 31, 1995. Profits from food and agriculture during the period rose 33% to £31.6m.

The firm said the compound feed market was difficult, with sales hit by the fall in the national pig herd and the effects of milk quota in the first quarter of the year. &#42