Company restructure pays off as profits rise

Centaur Grain has moved back into the black by posting pre-tax profits of 387,000 for the financial year ending 30 June.

The farmer-owned business, which specialises in committed grain marketing, said it was pleased with the sum and will split it between paying the taxman and reducing corporate debt by issuing preference share dividends.

It comes on the back of commission revenue of about 3m.

Chairman Richard Beldam said: “The results are entirely in line with the board’s expectations and represent excellent news for our member shareholders, customers and the businesses with which we trade.”

Last year, the company posted an operating loss of 64,000, which plummeted to 821,000 after exceptional costs mainly related to restructuring the business.

That bumpy period is now showing results, according to Mr Beldam.

“During the 2004 harvest season our new corporate structure allowed us to move away from the risks of ex-farm purchasing and further develop our committed marketing business.

“As a result, we attracted the largest amount of new committed tonnage ever achieved in a single season, almost 250,000t.”

Total committed tonnage has now reached almost 1.5m tonnes, worth about 110m last year, with a further 100,000 new tonnes lined up for the coming marketing season.

The co-op still trades about 200,000t of grain, split between oilseed rape, where Centaur has to act as first buyer to secure energy premiums, and wheat to fill up the Boston silos of Lingrain.