ANM turns loss into profit and restructures

Scotland’s diverse ANM Group, with 7500 farmer members, made an overall trading profit of £1.027m in the year to 31 December 2010, compared with a trading loss of £311,000 in 2009.

Turnover rose from £98.15m to £103.34m, with the best recovery coming in the meat division after restructuring which saw the Yorkshire Premier Meat business record a trading profit of £568,000 compared with a loss of £200,000 in 2009. Losses at Scotch Premier Meat were cut to £18,000 in 2010 compared with £882,000 in 2009.

The livestock auctions business based at Thainstone Centre near Inverurie, Aberdeenshire, made a strong return despite challenges, said the group.

Included in this is ANM’s unique “stock on agreement” scheme which lends to farmers for store stock purchase because of the cash shortage from traditional financing routes. The fund peaked at £9m in 2010.

“It has been going for some time but gathered pace because of changes in cattle and sheep prices at the end of 2008 and going into 2009 and because of the attitude of the banks,” said chief executive Alan Craig.

Under the scheme, producers are lent up to 100% of the cost of purchasing store cattle and sheep at rates similar to those available through the bank, with ANM retaining title to the stock as security. If they then market the finished stock through ANM, they receive a 1% reduction in their interest rate. More than 90% of stock financed through the scheme is marketed through ANM.

The restructure means that the group now has three divisions: the livestock auction division also incorporates a catering business and a new shows and exhibitions centre, Thainstone Exchange. The group also owns meat wholesaling and processing businesses under its meat division. The third division provides specialist auction services alongside the Aberdeen and Northern Estates property sales business.

This division includes Thainstone Specialist Services, the fastest growing part of ANM’s business, which the group describes as booming. It runs twice weekly sales of vehicles and special consignments as well as eight large sales a year of industrial, agricultural and building plant, equipment and commercial vehicles. Much of the work comes through banks, accountants and insolvency practitioners, with liquidation and disposal sales also being held throughout Scotland and the north of England.

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