Grain marketing co-operative Openfield Group has reported a pre-tax profit increase of more than 10% on the year after focusing on improved service to farmers and industry customers.
In the year to 30 June 2019 it recorded a £460,000 profit before tax, up from £416,000 in the previous 12 months. Turnover increased from £628m to £634m.
Profit after tax increased to £645,000 from £416,000, helped by a tax credit of £185,000.
Openfield, which is owned by about 4,000 farmers, has used part of a deferred tax credit accrued from historic losses, under a procedure that dictates the group must be reasonably certain that future increased profits will be realised.
It said harvest 2018 saw another small crop year which led to high imports of both wheat and maize, but member-committed grain increased to 75% of the total volume handled.
Net assets rose to £25.6m from £24.2m in 2018 and operating costs fell by 4% to £15m.
Philip Moody, Openfield’s chairman, said: “We have worked hard to improve our member services, delivered excellent marketing results, advanced our own systems and processes, engaged with consumers to improve delivery efficiencies and grown our member commitment – all while facing a turbulent grain market as it reacts to low volumes, high imports and volatile demand.”
Meanwhile northern farmer-owned grain trader Grainco has seen pre-tax profits fall by nearly 40% after it struggled with competitors in the bulk feed grain sector.
The company, owned by the farmer co-operative Tynegrain, recorded profits of just over £1.2m for the year ended 30 June 2019 (£1.95m in 2018) on a turnover of £183m (£152m in 2018).
Grainco said overall profits were down despite higher turnover as trading margins saw pressure from strong competition in the sector.